in August 2011 i purchased a two night stay in Branson, Missouri from a BlueGreen Resorts representative at the Bass Pro shop in Tulsa, Oklahoma. the cost was $99.00. i was informed that was the weekday rate, and if i wanted a weekend check-in i could upgrade for $5/night at the time i scheduled my trip.
we travel to Branson a few times a year so i figured it wouldn't be difficult to book a weeknight stay, as it isn't far.
in exchange for my $99, i was given a $25.00 Bass Pro gift card immediately. i was also promised an additional $25.00 Bass Pro gift card if i booked my date within 30 days of purchase, and another $100.00 Bass Pro gift card upon completion of the timeshare presentation in Branson, for a total of $150.00 in Bass Pro gift cards - a net $49.00 profit for me.
within the first two weeks after i paid the $99 i must have received 10 phone calls and as many emails from BlueGreen Resorts pushing me to "book" my vacation. the representatives were EXTREMELY pushy and kept threatening that dates were "filling up fast!!!!" eventually one of their agents offered to waive the additional weekend premium if i would book over the phone RIGHT THEN. i advised him that it was 3:00 p.m. and i wasn't going to book the trip without consulting my husband's calendar (we were both at work). i asked him if i could call him back between 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. that day and he refused. he said he could not wait that long. i didn't *** and said that would be fine, i would call him back at my convenience. ultimately i booked the trip that day, and he did waive the fee.
now for the fun part. while i was on the phone with the aforementioned representative, he mentioned to me that upon check-in i was responsible for all room taxes and surcharges. that surprised me, but after thinking about it i figured it was reasonable enough. it only surprised me because the Bass Pro representative had been soooooo freaking adamant about how you'll only pay $99! only $99!! that's it! $99!!! but i went ahead and booked the trip.
the representative at Bass Pro had also made a big show out of excitedly pointing out all of the amenities that the Resort had to offer. he walked me through a flier published not by BlueGreen Resorts, but one by the actual Big Cedar Lodge where the timeshare was located. he went on and on about circling which restaurants in the hotel are his favorites, and where he likes to eat breakfast each morning, and how "on my trip i should be sure to take advantage of X and Y amenity here in the brochure," etc. he talked about how comfortable the rooms are, and how my kids will love it, and on and on and ON.
if you to to their website, www.bigcedar.com, you'll see that the resort is all that he promised. i figured for $99, i could stand to sit through a 1.5 hour presentation. again, since we go to branson fairly often, i wasn't entirely opposed to the idea of buying a timeshare there. my family has plenty of disposable income so we're really the type of people who BlueGreen is looking to lure in.
unfortunately, what the representative at Bass Pro, and what the booking representative, failed to mention is that my $99 was NOT buying me a two-night stay at the Big Cedar Lodge. it was buying me a 1.5 hour PRESENTATION at the Big Cedar Lodge and a crappy two-night stay at the Baymont Inn and Suites, a crappy remodeled 1970s cement paradise in the middle of obnoxious downtown Branson. i realized this when a week after booking i received my "confirmation" email that listed the Baymont as my check-in location. what what! nowhere had anyone mentioned a Baymont.
so i whipped out my original paperwork, and sure enough, there it was. they're really clever about how they go about this at bass pro. they have you verify your "eligibility" on a computer screen (am i 25 years old? check. does my income qualify? check). then you sign on the computer screen. then they print out the eligibility that you verified, plus your signature, plus a WHOLE BUNCH OF SMALL PRINT THAT YOU WEREN'T PROVIDED BEFORE YOU SIGNED. but there it is, all printed out for the world to see with your signature electronically inserted at the top of a page you've never seen before.
so, what does the small print say? let's examine. the ONLY reference to your hotel being a crappy off-site chain is this:
"Verified retail value of accommodations is a rate between $171.00 per night and $979.00 per night, based upon travel season, check-in dates, destination and vacation package offer."
"Accommodations are in a [sic] independently owned and operated select area hotel in your selected offer destination."
Now, both of those statements can be interpreted as meaning that your hotel is the Big Cedar Resort that you've just spent the last 30 minutes oohing and aahing over to appease the representative.
Both of those statements can also be interpreted as meaning that your hotel is a fleabag somewhere in the same state.
So, I'd been duped. And you know what? I can handle that. I take responsibility for what I sign. It was the classic bait and switch. It didn't occur to me to ask the representative whether I would literally be spending the night at the "destination" hotel for which brochure after brochure were being shoved in my face. You know what? My bad. I'll own that.
But what really gets me is that the Baymont Inn ain't no "$171.00 per night to $979.00 per night" accommodation. The rest was just misleading; that was a flat-out lie. The room rate at the Baymont Inn for my selected weekend was $107.00 per night, and anyone who's paying $171.00 per night for a room at the Baymont in Branson, Missouri is, well, yeah. It doesn't happen. I could have stomached it if they had placed me in remotely comparable accommodations.
So anyway I immediately started reading the cancellation terms. I knew I had to act! Fast! To get out of this one. Luckily I was still within the G-O-L-D-E-N 30 day window so I called and cancelled. My $99.00 deposit, less the $25.00 gift card given to me at the time that I signed up, will be refunded to my credit card within 7-10 business days. Of course I did this over the phone and their contract explicitly says cancellations must be IN WRITING AND SIGNED IN THE BLOOD OF YOUR FIRSTBORN CHILD AND NOTARIZED IN TWO STATES, so I will be following up with a written letter tomorrow.
Interestingly, when I called to cancel, I had to tell the representative I'M CALLING TO CANCEL. PLEASE CANCEL. I'M CALLING TO CANCEL. NO, I DON'T WANT TO EXPLAIN. THIS WAS A BAIT AND SWITCH AND YOU KNOW WHY. I'M WITHIN THE THIRTY DAYS. PLEASE CANCEL. JUST CANCEL. CANCEL IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish I'd had it recorded. It was brutal. The guy would not take "cancel" for an answer.
I've nothing more to say about BlueGreen resorts, other than it's truly a mark upon Bass Pro's face. They should get out of bed with these fraudsters, and quick-like.
Product or Service Mentioned: Bluegreen Resorts Vacation Ownership.