Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's good to be "Platinum"

It was a great surprise for me to log back in here today and not see a huge fan club gathering in response to my highly suspenseful first post! What a major disappointment. I should call my family and have them log in and write how interesting this is.

Seriously, I have decided to not promote this blog in any way at all. If it gets discovered through search engines, that is fine. If not, that is fine too. Sometimes talking to yourself can actually be healthy, so maybe this is just therapeutic for me. We retirees sometimes need therapy!

So where was I when I fell asleep last night? I was telling you how great my timeshare ownership was and how it brought my family much closer together. The last point I made was that we continued to purchase more ownership in the FairShare Plus Program until we owned enough to spend about 30 days a year in timeshares.

I actually understated that slightly. We fell for the sales pitch that encouraged us to purchase MORE than we could actually use, so that we would get big discounts. Yah, sounds like going to the grocery store during a sale and buying six months worth of milk because it’s so cheap. Can you drink it all before it sours? With the timeshares, can you use all the vacation time before the end of the use year?

Well, let’s expand on this a little. Theoretically, what the sales folks told me was economically sound, considering I did want to travel at least a few weeks annually. An average week at one of these resorts gives you between 126,000 and 254,000 points in the FairShare program, which can be used to trade into other resorts in the program. If you purchased over 300,000 points you were given VIP status, which gave a small discount on future bookings and free daily newspapers while on vacation in the Fairfield/Wyndham resorts. That wasn’t too attractive to me though, I’m a southern boy and don’t even know how to read, let alone read newspapers!

The highest VIP level is called VIP “Platinum”. Now doesn’t that sound impressive? Platinum. Just say it a few times to yourself and you will get a small tingling feeling all about you. Platinum. Yes, that’s what I wanted to be. Platinum. Platinum owners need to purchase a million points, which works out to be about 6-8 weeks of vacation time annually. But, it doesn’t stop there. In addition, they gave us all sorts of other benefits, which were certainly fitting for the term “Platinum”. If we booked out of the leftover inventory at 60 days before check-in, we got our reservations for a 50% discount AND (yes, AND) we could also get free upgrades. So, for half the price of a one-bedroom condo, we would be able to book a two-bedroom or larger condo. Yes, it certainly does seem to be good to be Platinum.

Since we had purchased a total of seven weeks of ownership – or 49 days, in 2BR units, we now owned a whopping 1,000,050 points. VIP PLATINUM! Yippee! “Ladies and gentleman in the sales presentation room, I have a very special announcement – please join me in congratulating our newest VIP Platinum owners.” What an exciting time for me --- more exciting than having a daughter but not quite as exciting as having a son. Hahaha, that was a joke. I guess I can’t invite my family here now! But, seriously, it's good to be Platinum.

If you are a math-wizard, you’ve probably already figured out that if a Platinum owner books all of their vacations within the 60 day window, that they number of days of ownership doubles. So, to be a Platinum means we could have up to 98 days of vacation….even more if able to get upgrades from 1BR. And all of this for the great bargain of over $$,$$$. No, there are no decimal points there, just lots of dollar signs. Seriously, I don’t want to tally up the total amount initially invested, I might get sick and not be able to finish tonight’s topic.

And in addition to that alarming amount, we pay about $390.83 a month for maintenance fees (forever, and forever increasing). That sounds cheap, right? A mere pittance to pay for great family bonding vacations. Until you realize that for 12 months that totals to $4,689.96 and that my family is only able to use 30 of those 98 days of vacation that we pay for!

That was where the salesman had me hook, line, and sinker. He explained that almost all owners who purchase to the Platinum level actually could never use all of their vacation time. He lowered his voice, so as not to be overheard by lowly “non-Platinum” owners and said that the only reason to buy to this level was to reap the great discounts (50% is a great) and upgrades (I once got an upgrade from a 1BR to a 4BR!). He continued (even quieter this time) that Platinum owners generally rent out their extra vacation time to help defray the cost of their maintenance fees.

Wow, great idea, but how? “That’s simple, sir, these units rent for at least $1000 a week all over the Internet, or you can use any vacation rental company and pay a commission, but renting is easy.”

So, back to the math. For about $5K a year I get about 98 days (14 weeks). My family can use four weeks, which leaves ten weeks to rent out at $1000 a week. So, my net cost of vacationing works out to be -$5K a year for 30 days of vacation! Now, that is an easy sell and certainly encouraged me to spend the $$,$$$ to purchase much more ownership than I needed. Yep, a Platinum!!!! That’s me. Yes, it's good to be Platinum.

Ok, back to reality. Yes, renting turned out to be fairly easy, but unless you are talking about 4th of July on the beach, $1000 is NOT gonna happen, and it really worked out to be 7-8 extra weeks (due to prime season), so that was a bit of an exaggeration as well. But, the salesman was right. It was possible to cover a lot of the expense of my annual maintenance fees by renting out my excess ownership.

I had no problem renting my 7-8 extra weeks out for about $500 a week. Minus advertising costs, I was able to recover a little over $3500 each year. Now, my four weeks of family vacation each year is down to under $1500, or about $50 a night for a 2BR condo at a first class resort. Yes, I was very happy with being Platinum. I even considered buying a Platinum-colored Speedo bathing suit to show off at these resorts during vacations. Just kidding.

If you disregard the $$,$$$ initial investment (at a high interest rate), this all seems like a genius way to get the best value for your vacation dollar and still be able to visit some quality destinations. That is what we did for several years.

Have I built up the suspense yet? Probably not, but at least you must think I’m pretty smart for figuring out how to travel and get paid back for most of it. You just have to forget about the $$,$$$ and it all does seem fool-proof.

Tomorrow I will tell you how this all changed. I’ll tell you some secrets about the seemingly physical impossibility of turning Platinum into Coal.

For those who were counting, I was able to use the word Platinum a total of 20 times. That is probably not the key word that I want the search engines to find. Let me try this instead:

Wyndham sucks! Wyndham sucks! Wyndham sucks! Wyndham sucks! Wyndham sucks! Wyndham sucks! Wyndham sucks! Wyndham sucks! Wyndham sucks! Wyndham sucks! Wyndham sucks! Wyndham sucks! Wyndham sucks! Wyndham sucks! Wyndham sucks! Wyndham sucks! Wyndham sucks! Wyndham sucks! Wyndham sucks! Wyndham sucks! Wyndham sucks! Wyndham sucks!

There, I would much prefer for this blog to be discovered by someone typing in the above key words. You'll understand more later. Honestly, I'm a nice guy and don't use that sort of disrespectful language without real cause.

Have a great night and don’t forget to say a few prayers for our nation, since the Presidential Inauguration is tomorrow. It is going to take a bit more than some great theatrics to get this country back on its feet. I pray that Mr. Obama is up to the challenge.

36 comments:

  1. could you tell me who you use to rent your points out? We have 300,000 that we are not going to be able to use this year and we could really use some extra cash

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  2. How do we dump our timeshare. We have a Wyndham Timeshare in Destin FL..

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  3. Request an exchange to the Mayan resorts. They will upgrade your program and will give you the equity you have in your traditional timeshare. Trade in-trade up. They have an amazing program.

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  4. We owned an even year timeshare with Wyndham. We were informed at a sales presentation that our maintenance cost were increasing from $42 to $72 with no explanation as to why. We were talked into buying more so our new maintenance cost would be around the same $72 amount. In other words we got double the rental power for the same cost as the new $72 fee. That cost $22, 000. After several months I found out directly from Grand Desert Las Vegas that our cost WOULD NOT HAVE GONE UP AND OUR FEE WOULD HAVE ONLY BEEN $42. We were LIED to by sales just to get us to buy more. We even have the cost of the incorrect $72 in writing. I DON'T MIND STRONG SALES TO GET YOU TO BUY BUT WHEN THEY START TO OUTRIGHT LIE THEN THAT IS UNETHICAL. We contacted their resolution department who said they need around 5 business days to get the details. That was 24 days ago. I have left voice messages and repeated E-mails with the resolution specialist but have not had any response. I have no idea if they are even working on the resolution since they will not reply to me. We were lied to by 4 salesmen. One even told us that if we buy an odd year, he could get my even year that is increased to $72 back to $42, but didn't put it in writing. THERE ARE OTHER EXAMPLES OF HALF TRUTHS I WILL DESCRIBE LATER. THE ABOVE EXAMPLE IS A DOWN RIGHT OUTRIGHT LIE AND I HAVE THE PROOF. I WILL PRESENT THE PROOF LATER IS I DON'T HEAR FROM THEM. I MEAN HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU GIVE SOMEONE TO GET BACK TO YOU.

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    Replies
    1. They are so understaffed and overwhelmed with complaints. That should tell you something.

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  5. I finally got the WYNDHAM RESOLUTION DEPT. Let me say it is really a NON RESOLUTION DEPT. They are useless. SO as a WYndham timeshare owner who got conned by lies into upgrading, all I say is RUN FROM ALL WYNDHAM SALES: RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN!!! Think before you buy and do the math . DO NOT trust their figures or believe anything they say. They will tell you that refinancing is easily done at home. They will imply you can do this at a bank when in reality they mean credit cards. Think about the maintenance cost with inflation. If you pay $1000 per year ($80/month) in cost today, in 20 years you would pay out $30, 000 in maintenance cost. That's if inflation only averages 5%. You must calculate like you would compounding interest. It is very difficult to get the more popular locations. YOU MUST BOOK EXACTLY 10 MONTHS OUT. IF YOU DON"T KNOW BY THEN WHEN YOU ARE TAKING VACATION THEN GOOD LOOK. Honest to goodness, it is much easier to just book hotels. They claim how much hotels go up with inflation, BUT SO DOES THE MAINTENANCE COST, WHICH THEY DON'T TELL YOU.

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  6. Yep they are slick, about 15 minutes after we checked into our room we received a phone call inviting us for a “free lunch the next day” from what the person said was it was just to let us know about the changes to Wyndham. What a LIE they tried to HARD SELL us into buying more points. The sales person even told us to refinance our home to pay for the points... These folks stink. What they do should be illegal and should be stopped close them down....

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  7. Yep they did the same think to us, about 10 minutes after we checked into our room we received a phone call inviting us for a “free lunch the next day” from what the person said was it was just to let us know about the changes to Wyndham. What a LIE they tried to HARD SELL us into buying more points. Said they would buy back out timeshare but never told us how. The sales person even told us to refinance our home to pay for the points... These folks stink. What they do should be illegal and should be stopped close them down..

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  8. We just checked into Wyndham at Bonnet Creek yesterday and had a horrible experience. We rented the unit from an owner as guests. Upon check in at 3 pm was told we could not check in as our room request of Tower 3 with a lake view was being honored, but was not yet ready for check in. Come back at 4 pm. Went back at 4 pm and waited 40 min. in line for a second time and when I got up to check in was given room assignment Tower 3, unit 321. Woo-hoo! Only to get to Tower 3 and find out there is no such unit number. We were given the wrong info, should have been Tower 1, unit 321. Made a third trip back to check in to have the displeasure of speaking with Steve, the room assignment supervisor. Was told that while maybe I had been told that we had our request honored at 3 pm, someone like a VIP or another one of the five levels he used as examples instead of me, "a guest" at the very bottom, had their request honored for a lake view room. Have not ever ever been treated like such a low-life before because I was checking in as an owners "guest". During our check in process there were several errors made by the staff, but that we overlooked to dwell on the fact that people pay tons of money on monthly fees to have a status higher than ours and we are just at the bottom of that list as a "guest". Then they have the nerve to ask if we want to attend a presentation, I think not. Wouldn't want to belong to anything that treats people in such a low and crude manner. Like I told him, I too am in the business world, and when I tell someone something, I go out of my way to make good of my words and reputation, not bring it down.

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  9. We have 13 properties at Wyndham, I wish I had seen this post prior to buying. We bought two from Wyndham direct and the rest privately, since we have a total of 1.3m points, Wyndham refuse to honour us as a VIP account at the 1m point plus level. This sucks. Are there any timeshares better than Wyndham? I thinking Marriott?

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  10. Wyndham will try to sell your extra reservations, but you have to make the reservation first. If you plan to do this, try to get something that is very popular. The place to contact them to do this is www.extraholidays.com. If you have the time to do it yourself, you can try to sell on ebay. If you don't sell by 15 days out, you can cancel and try to get another reservation. If you own in the Myrtle Beach area or are able to get reservations there, you might try Beachcomber Vacation Rentals. I have not tried them, but have had several people say that they are good. One person even named Eileen (sp?) as a contact person. I hope this helps someone that wants to rent out some of their points. Another way might be to get reservations for friends.

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  11. Wyndham are the biggest crooks I know. People at the Grand Desert Las Vegas are slime balls. Never deal with Charles "Troy" Patterson or Amir Kassas. They are both double talking dirty liars who deserved to be punched in the face.

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  12. Sales presentations\free lunches = I sign up and then don't show up. Wyndham has wasted so much of my time, it's time for me to pay them back. I agree to everything then back out or don't show up. I don't care if they get mad. I hate Wyndham with a passiom and will do everything that is legally permissible to f**k with them. Payback is a b**ch.

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    1. unfortunately its the corporation not typically the sales people to blame.

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    2. I disagree. The sales people are so ignorant!!!

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  13. While I have many other complaints about Wyndham my biggest is trying to deal with their Financial Services Department. Their procedures, rules and fees are ridiculous and their people are as UNhelpful as it gets. Regret my decision to buy, will never, ever upgrade.

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  14. We own other timeshares we have been happy with, but not Wyndham. Maintenance fees doubled since we bought the place. Not worth it. DON'T BUY or UPGRADE! Rip off, and the salesmen lie

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  15. If you are a good lier Wyndham wants to hire YOU They only hire the very best, starting with the person at the desk with the parking pass. DON'T BELEIVE ANYTHING THEY SAY. ALL LIES TO GET YOU TO AGREE TO A SALES PRESENTATION AND THEN MORE LIES. THEY ARE ALL DISGUSTING.

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    1. You're absolutely right. The parking pass is how they "add value" to your trip to the experience desk and their sole purpose is to pitch you for a presentation. That is, if you qualify. A warning to your guests - If they ask you for your id to put you in the "guest registry" they are lying to you. There is no guest registry. They need your license to check your credit score. Don't worry, it's just a soft score so it won't drag your score down, but it is private information and if you don't want to share it, don't give them the license.

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    2. I have to agree as I was ethical and they squeezed me out of the company for not being a slime ball.

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  16. Wyndham sales people are very deceptive and a the company is a big fraud. I agree with the one of the other writers, their mis-representation and resolution department is not helpful at all. This company believes in the policy that, "the customer is always wrong." when in fact they are the liars and us very deceptive tactics. Stay away from this company.

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  17. Fairfield/Wyndham Timeshare Resorts is HORRIBLE, sales, ownership, foreclosure and consumer finance departments are all very deceptive and offer VERY POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE! If you do business, KEEP THE ORIGINAL COPY OF YOUR CONTRACT WHEN DOING BUSINESS with them! Wyndham produced/created a totally different contract than the one we signed on the date of sale/purchase. WE WERE SHOCKED! If it wasn't for us having the original contract we signed they would have ripped us off for 1,000s more. Fortunately, we were able to present the original contract. They took the signature page and attached it to a totally different contract with different numbers/percentages. I have been on the phone for the past 2 1/2 hours trying to reach someone in Resolutions Department. All departments make you repeat the same problem over and over again, and transfer you everywhere but the department requested. All state they can help or will not transfer the call until you explain the problem. Wasting value and precious time ie: hours. Our property was PAID IN FULL four years ago. We have been begging and pleading to receive the deed. Were told in 2010 deed would be sent. NO DEED YET. After an investigation was finalized the deed again was suppose to be sent out because they confirmed the account was paid in full. Now in 2012 we owe more money towards closing cost and yet confirmation of account being paid in full was already given both verbally and in writing. Paid amount included closing cost and interest. Title Dept. is showing closing cost was not paid, finance is showing everything is paid. Representative stated some departments showed paid and other show closing close were not paid. Lastly, we have tried to make several payments towards MAINTENANCE FEES with that department a number of times. ALL PAYMENTS were refused and not accepted. We were told WE CANNOT MAKE A PAYMENT! They have now thrown our account into Foreclosure! Think before you do business with Fairfield/Wyndham Vacation Resorts. There are several other timeshare companies that have better deals and value their customer. Avoid the mayhem and confusion of just being ripped of your money! All the offers, great deals in the very beginning of the sale WILL NOT PREPARE YOU FOR whats in store later, months, or even years to come.

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  18. Thanks to everyone for all the post. I have to thank the creator of this blog too and I wish I would have read this earlier or found this website a lot sooner. Before making a purchase, I will remember to check online for any "complaints." Thank you for providing a useful website and blog.

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  19. Wyndham is all hard core sales tactics. on the marketing team you are harassed by middle management throughout the day, and every two weeks they have a "coaching session" with you,in other words, you are fired if you do not get enough "penetration" ( interesting word for it don't you think?). You are correct about the soft scoring of your credit report. also know and this is a fact, they do not shred any confidential information and not only that the staff carries it around, takes it home, leaves it in the trash in open areas, yeah, can anyone say identity theft? There is no "team" each of your co workers is judging you and wanting to cut your throat for that next booking. I watched a marketing rep chase a guest out to the parking lot because they said they did not want to attend "an information session" the next day as they had just purchased tens of thousands of dollars worth of points. They ask very personal questions and are ordered to hear no six times before giving up. but they do not give up cause they call you in your room that night and the next morning first thing.they badger, harass and eventually stalk a guest to get that booking. and staff are "punished" for those guests who decline or come to check in in the middle of the night. these are called dots, and held against staff. strangest thing I ever heard of. Middle managers are abrupt, rude, and condescending. God awful place to work, the worse job I ever had.

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  20. I work at Wyndham and I wouldn't buy a timeshare for free....this is the most unethical company I have ever had the displeasure of working for. They even try to rip each other off.

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  21. I have hated this company since two months after we first purchased in 2007 (Fairfield at that time). They are all trained to lie to everyone!

    I sell a few weeks a year and tell all my "guests" DO NOT ATTEND THE SALES PRESENTATION. DO NOT LET THEM DO MORE THAN SEE YOUR ID, TO CONFIRM WHO YOU ARE. and do NOT buy anything under any circumstances. Of course this makes me look like a fool for having purchased, but at least I can say I warned them not to buy. I also tell them if they want to know why just call me, or search for wyndham vacation resorts scam!

    You can not sell Wyndham for any amount of money, take a look at e-bay. Your “investment” is worthless they day you buy.

    I attend "Owner Updates" a couple of times a year just to be a pain, and get 75-100 bucks from them. The lady in Oceanside was so pissed off at me she couldn't even be civil! I LOL! I know they don't care, but if they had a fair buy back program, I would be ok. Don’t ever spend more than the required hour!

    WARNING: I have heard that if the person you sell (give) you wyndham timeshare to doesn't pay the maintenance fees they will come after you, the original owner.... i.e. you can't ever be 100% rid of wyndham till you die!

    Also, you loose VIP status if you were to will your points to a family member, SUCKS! Oh, and you must buy points from Wyndham for those points to be included in the VIP programs!

    I have watched for a few years, but haven't seen any class action against them! Even if I lost my full investment, it would be worth it to see Wyndham go DOWN!

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  22. And, yes, I googled "Wyndham sucks." Good idea to help us find you this way!

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  23. We recently (June, 2013) exchanged into a Wyndham "resort" in Shawnee-On-Delaware, PA. How disappointing. The two bedroom villa (2 floors) was built around 1980 and from the look of it, the interior hasn't been updated since then. Not to say that the interior was nice even back then! The A/C was set at about 62 degrees, which is very cold. When we got to the 2nd floor, we realized why the A/C was so low. It was probably 82 degrees on the 2nd floor, which is where the two bedrooms are located. We found a floor fan in a closet and placed it in front of one of the beds. It promptly fell over and could not be made to stand up again. We called maintenance. They came, repaired it, then told us not to use it again because it would probably fall over again.

    We have exchanged into a number of timeshares over the last 10 years, and though all of them attempt to get us to go to a sales demonstration (cleverly using all kinds of names), we always avoid them. In this particular case, we received a phone call after we'd been staying there for several days with an offer to attend an "Owner update". We knew it was for the sales demonstration. It was all we could do not to laugh at the person calling. We did not attend.

    We sent a complaint about our stay after we returned home and promptly received a form letter response indicating that Wyndham was sorry we didn't enjoy ourselves, but that they were remodeling that resort. Really? You're remodeling and you actually place guests into a unit you KNOW is inferior?? The Wyndham name is mud to us. Never again.

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  24. Even if you are a true victim of timeshare fraud or you feel your contract is invalid, the timeshare company can take you to collections if you fail to make payments. In order to avoid being taken to collections and damaging your credit score, it is very important that you properly cancel your contract with the resort before stopping to make payments. http://www.timesharescam.com/blog/118-how-much-do-timeshares-cost/

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  25. Has anyone ever had any success getting their contracts cancelled because of all the lies they were told? They always ask for proof, but the salespeople are too slick to let us leave with any of their "promises" in writing.

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  26. I can't say this plainly enough: STAY AWAY FROM WYNDHAM. RUN AWAY. DON'T WALK. RUN. RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!!! RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN AND DON'T LOOK BACK!!! Several years ago, my brother was snookered into buying a Wyndham time share, and since that time he has been goaded into buying more and more and more, now he has over a million points and must pay almost $500 per month in maintenance fees. He took out home equity loans to pay for this garbage, now he's over $80,000 in debt to these thieves. They lied to him, lied, lied again, and lied some more. He even has credit cards with these pricks. He's so far in the hole he doesn't know what to do, and it keeps getting worse. What Wyndham does is unethical, it should be illegal, all those damn crooks pushing this crap should be in prison and the company should be sued into oblivion.

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  27. Not long ago I was made the pitch by wyndham, but I resisted. But oh my god, those people can twist your arm like you cant believe. Those wyndam people should be crucified for the hucksters they are.

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  28. OMG, Im SO glad I found this website. We were offered a "free" visit to one of there timeshares at virginia beach. i just knew it was a scam!!

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