Welcome to the Tuesday Slot, this week we welcome another new contributor, Vanessa Hernandez, with her “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” and her dealings with Starpoint.
Vanessa’s article was scheduled for today. It just happened to follow Saturday’s horrific mass murder at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh that resulted in the death of eleven worshipers.
Is it so much to ask, Starpoint, to show this family compassion? If you had bought a timeshare in Pittsburgh, believing you experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices, and then experienced what Vanessa experienced, how would you feel? Has greed in the timeshare industry so run amuck to show such callousness?
What do you think? Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you via our comment section.
But first continuing with our theme of reporting some of the latest companies that are appearing on various blogs and forums, today we give the basic details of another new enterprise.
This one is called Hutchinson Holidays, with the website
Registered on 20 June 2018 and due to expire on 20 June 2019, so not intended to stay around long, the registrar is not named but the website is registered in Gujarat India, not really giving much confidence there!
The address they give is one that is very familiar 22 Wenlock Road London N1 7GU, which is just a registered office service and is a Company Formation Service with the website https://www.companiesmadesimple.com
According to their blog page https://www.companiesmadesimple.com/blog/20-22-wenlock-road-registered-office/
The title question is:
“Can I use the 20-22 Wenlock Road Registered Office service if my company wasn’t formed by you?”
Their answer: “Absolutely. Our Registered Office service, which operates from our own offices at 20-22 Wenlock Road, London, N1 7GU – can be used by any England and Wales limited company, even if it wasn’t formed by us. This is provided that you pass on the necessary proof of ID and proof of address documents needed to comply with the Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations.”
Which does not really seem to ring true considering the company we are talking about here, Hutchinson Holidays, the other contact details are email: [email protected]
Telephone +44 20 3868 2489
So what are they offering, well according to the website and their homepage they appear to be another “Holiday Club” that we have seen so often in the past, think Designer Way Vacation Club and Club Class Concierge. You pay to join and presumably trade in your timeshare (or is it originally pitched as a reslae with guaranteed buyer) and bingo, none of the holidays are available and with the time left on the registration they are gone never to be seen again.
We also believe that this is the same lot that were doing the resale with guaranteed buyer scam, highlighted on another blogsite in July 2018, the logo is very similar:
Anyway more on this little “scam” as more information is found, so on with our Tuesday article with Vanessa.
Our Las Vegas Timeshare Experience on October 1, 2017
The Callousness of Starpoint
Sapphire Resorts DBA Starpoint
By Vanessa Hernandez
October 30, 2018
To be honest, I don’t remember as much as I’d like about the purchase of our Starpoint timeshare October 1 of last year. That night Rogelio and I went to the concert that flipped Vegas upside down. We hid and ran for our lives, hoping to make it out alive. Thankfully we did. We cut our trip short, so I didn’t look over the paperwork as I told myself I would. I couldn’t get out of bed or eat for a month.
I remember feeling pressured and pushed into buying the timeshare, which was why I told myself I needed to look over the paperwork as soon as I got home. The reasons I felt uncomfortable with my decision:
- They said the timeshare was prime real estate,
- I was not aware the credit check was being run,
- They told me to wait 30 days before booking,
- They promised a free trip (which never materialized).
As the days wore on, I tried to get back to my everyday life, learning how to live with the trauma I had just experienced. About a month later I received a certificate of membership. I got out my paperwork and started looking through it. That’s when I realized the misrepresentations.
I thought I was going to be done paying off the timeshare in three years. It turned out to be a seven year loan financed at 21%. The loan document had circles on it as if this had been explained, but I don’t remember the sales agent doing so. I think that part was deliberately skipped. I suspect the sales agent circled those items after we signed the documents.
We were staying at the Excalibur. When we walked by CVS we were invited to attend a timeshare presentation at the Jockey Club, affiliated with Starpoint. We met with sales agents Brandon and Matthew. Matthew said he wasn’t supposed to help with presentations, but wanted to help out. They told us that the Cosmopolitan next door had been trying to buy the Jockey Club and that some members had already turned down offers from those wanting to buy their Jockey Club timeshare. They said that if we bought and sold the timeshare back to the Jockey Club we could make good money because the Jockey Club was prime real estate on the strip and was basically priceless. We have since learned timeshares have virtually no secondary market.
They ran my credit when they said they wouldn’t. I told them I was rebuilding my credit. They assured me they were not going to run it, but they did without my consent. I received an alert from my credit monitoring company.
They sold the timeshare as a week’s vacation for the next 45 years. We understood there would be maintenance fees, but they never mentioned the resort fees charged at every stay. The Starpoint timeshare cost $5,995.
They told me I had to call Starpoint to book 30 days before my desired travel times, which was beyond the contract rescission period. When I called, there was no availability. The 5,000 points they sold us was not enough for a week’s stay.
They promised us a complimentary three night round trip airfare and hotel package if we signed. We never received it.
In short, I felt pressured into making the purchase. I wanted to review the contract when I got back from vacation. Unfortunately, the events that took place after I bought the timeshare meant that I did not check the contract within the cancellation period. When I did review the contract, I found discrepancies between what we understood the benefits to be, and what we actually bought.
I asked Starpoint to show some compassion in light of the trauma I experienced, especially since most of what we were told was not true. I asked to be released from the contract, but there has been hardly any communication and certainly none that addressed my concerns about the misrepresentations, or whether they would cancel the contract on compassionate grounds.
I have been back to Vegas two times since the shooting, once was to fill out paperwork. The other was for a reunion to meet with other shooting survivors.
Before the horror:
I have no desire to ever go back to Las Vegas again. I bought on October 1. the day the shooting happened, so anything about that day brings back bad memories.
I have a certificate that states I was a victim of crime. I am seeking professional help. It feels like nothing matters to Starpoint except getting my money.
I am 30 years old. I guess the only silver lining is the life lesson learned. I will never believe a word a timeshare sales agent says. The general public needs to be aware that buying a timeshare can turn into a financial disaster you are stuck with for life. What other product carries this weight?
Starpoint’s Better Business Bureau report:
Thank you to Vanessa for sharing her traumatic experience. Only someone who has experienced the symptoms of PTSD can understand the power of association. Even if Vanessa had been happy with her purchase, she would have had a hard time enjoying future vacations because of the negative associations brought back after experiencing that terrible day. Feeling she had experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices, makes it even worse.
Like John Walsh of America’s Most Wanted, we hope Vanessa can learn to channel her trauma and grief outward to help others, like other timeshare victims.
Self-help groups we feel are not industry influenced:
On Thursday we will be reporting on another company that was brought to our attention by a regular reader, this one revolves around one of the largest scams over the past few years, the bogus claims companies. Once again this company has full details of who the client has dealt with, what they purchased, how much for, when purchased and even membership details and number.
In this case our reader is fully wise to these scams having fallen for one in the past and then finding out via Inside Timeshare, he now regularly informs us of the companies that cold call him, on this occasion he has also given us a recording of the telephone conversation. So don’t forget to join us on Thursday.
Remember, do your due diligence and check any company that contacts you or one that you have found on the internet, if you are not sure how to check or need help in clarifying their legitimacy, then use our contact page and ask Inside Timeshare, we will be happy to help.