If you don’t like reading long blog posts, you can head over to the italicized text at the 3rd paragraph and the research/conclusion portion at the bottom.
My wife got a call from a stranger a few months ago saying that she won a 3 days / 2 nights hotel and resort accommodation from Puerto Del Sol. She asked how the stranger was able to get her contact number and he admitted that he got it from one of those bridal fairs we attended. Ok, so he wasn’t just calling people at random because we did attend a lot of bridal fairs recently. But there was a catch; we had to attend their 90 minute presentation in Ortigas. This initially worried us because it sounded like one of those Pyramid Scams or MLM (muti-level marketing) presentation crap that was the hype back when I was in college. But we still gave it a shot because the prize was too good and we had nothing to lose anyway. Well, maybe an hour and a half of our time and transportation expenses, but we figured it will be worth it if we did get the free vacation in Puerto Del Sol.
The next day, we headed for Ortigas after lunch. We were greeted by people in business attire and then led to a room with several tables inside, each table was big enough for 4 people. Most of these tables were occupied with a person in business attire and 1 or 2 people in plain clothes (probably a few of the “lucky” winners like us). A slim woman in her 30’s attended to us and asked if we were comfortable, she also asked if we wanted iced tea. Both my wife and I refused the iced tea because I had a bad feeling that I might have to refuse this woman’s offer later, and I don’t want to feel obligated to her offer for freeloading on her iced tea. She then proceeded to ask us several questions about our financial status, like how much we earn and other things like vacation and etc. It felt like she was one of those “financial planners” aka insurance agents that is selling you an insurance policy but minus the death and future retirement scenarios. I was starting to become uneasy but we still held on because we were curious and it was rude to just stand up and leave anyway.
She took out 3 pieces of paper and continued to ask us questions like how much we earn (again), where we live, how often we take a vacation and what are our vacation plans in the next 5 – 10 and 20 years. Our attendant wrote the information on the paper including our answers to her questions. Then slowly but surely, she inserted her sales talk during our conversation about vacation. Something along the lines of “What if I can offer you a way to have a luxurious vacation year after year on a beautiful beach i.e. Puerto Del Sol”. She then proceeded to explain what she was offering, a Timeshare of Puerto Del Sol. A Timeshare is like owning a portion or accommodation of a hotel or resort for a particular time only. E.g. “One weekend every quarter of the year on one of Puerto Del Sol’s “Mansion Villa” along with several amenities that is included with the accommodation.” This means you can schedule a free vacation to Puerto Del Sol for a weekend every quarter of every year. But what if we don’t want to keep going to Puerto Del Sol every year? Then she explained that the timeshare is from RCI, which is an international company that has more than 6,000+ affiliate resorts where you can trade your timeshare. Plus if you don’t want to take a vacation anymore, you can sell your timeshare credits to other people, e.g. friends or relatives. It sounds too good right? Well, as the saying goes “If it is too good to be true, it probably isn’t!” I’ll explain later why.
At that time, I admit that I was interested at the offer and I was curious at how much the total package would cost. My wife’s eyes were sparkling with interest at our attendant. Although, I really can’t blame her because she’s such a vacationholic (made up word). Then came the price, it was a whopping 700,000 pesos!!! I’m not sure how our attendant interpreted our facial reactions but that’s when she started saying that the offer was only good for today and that you can’t avail of this special offer again afterwards. This is a nasty sales trick to pressure innocent people. But we didn’t cave in because it was just ridiculously expensive! At around this time came another attendant who looked a bit older, but definitely shorter and fatter than our previous attendant, literally looks like our first attendant’s evil cousin. She asked us why we didn’t like the offer and we answered her honestly (that it was too expensive). She lowered the offer to 400,000 pesos… Sounds waaaay too fishy right??? We didn’t even bother asking what would be taken out of the package if we went for the 400k offer. Besides, we can’t even afford 400k anyway! So we still refused her offer and that’s when her tone changed, it became condescending and she started implying that we were wasting her time (THE NERVE!). We ignored their rude tones and “sales talk baiting” remarks and continued to refuse their offer. After a while, they finally gave up and handed us our prize. On our way home, we read the prize and here’s the text at the bottom of the cheap looking paper.
This offer is valid with a redemption period of 30 days from the date of issue and a booking of 5,000.00 pesos will also apply which will be refunded upon completion of the trip. The booking form must be fully completed and submitted. Failure to do so will render this offer null and void. All travel must be completed within 12 months from the date of issue.
Lol, even the prize was a SCAM!
Here’s my additional research and personal conclusion why this is a SCAM:
- The cost of the package she was offering to us was a whopping 700,000 pesos!!! When we refused, she lowered the offer to 400,000 pesos… Sounds waaaay too fishy right??? We didn’t even bother asking what would be taken out of the package if we went for the 400k offer. Besides, we can’t even afford 400k anyway! For short, it’s overpriced for a vacation within the Philippines.
- If you do some basic research on the internet about RCI together with the word “SCAM”, you’d be surprised at how many people are disillusioned, dissatisfied and angry at this company. Poor service, almost impossible to trade your timeshare and etc.
- Selling your timeshare credits to other people. They forgot to mention that those people to whom you will be selling your timeshare credits also need to be members of RCI.
- There is a recurring yearly membership fee which is also expensive. RCI members on the internet were saying that it was around 3,000 USD a year.
- It is not very easy to trade timeshare banked credits for other places, and even if you had an unlimited amount of banked weeks, you still need to pay for traded vacations on certain resorts even during off-peak seasons.
- If this really was such a good deal then what is up with the 1 day offer only? Why the need to use such a cheap and nasty sales trick on their potential clients? By the way, they actually called us a few months afterwards and repeated the same nasty baiting routine. We learned our lesson and didn’t go.
- If you are rich enough to take a vacation out of the country on a regular basis, then why the hell would you need to enroll in this crap when you have to go through the hassle of paperwork and constrictive vacation schedules when you can just take a vacation package at a decent travel agency?
- In the long run it is cheaper to plan your own vacation, just do the math. 100,000+ pesos a year? Plus more than half a million pesos for the membership?
If someone texts or calls you and says you won a free vacation in Puerto Del Sol but you need to attend a 90 minute presentation. Just refuse, it will save you from a huge headache and avoid being lulled into a scam.