Lured to Las Vegas on a promise of $100 of Bass Pro Gift cards to do a timeshare tour at Club 36 Resort. The cost was $100 for 2 nights. Arrived Saturday afternoon and checked in to a very nice deluxe 1 bedroom condo and found that we had a 9am tour of the resort the next day. The presentation would last 90 minutes to 2 hrs. After the one hour presentation, we ended up in a large room without windows with several round tables where dozens of sales reps with prospective clients sat in close proximity. The radio blasted very loud and you could hardly hear the sales associate talk . After a short tour of the 3 types of accommodations ("Villas") which were very beautiful, we went back to the noisy area where every once in a while new owners would ring a loud bell. No matter how hard we tried to say "this isn't for us", the sales manager would eventually come around and present a cheaper option and try to convince us of how smart people like us would be a fool to not become owners in this great investment. They would not let us go up to our room to "think it over" as we had to buy right then in order to get the bonus incentives, and in reality, these charter bonuses were the only reason I would buy. These bonuses were not transferable either so now I see why there are 1000's of people giving away (and even paying people to take) their timeshares to get out from under the maintenance fees and dues. We felt they would never let us go and give us our gift cards so after 5 hrs, we eventually agreed to purchase a very entry level "bi-annual" membership that we could upgrade if needed. ($9000 and $650+ annual maintenance and dues). It took another 45mins to prepare the documents and then we spent another 45mins signing them like we were be hurried up as an apology for taking so long. They skimmed over everything hoping you will not notice the 5 day rescission clause. We immediately had buyer's remorse and exercised our rights to revoke the contract the next day. If you find yourself here, check the rules for your state and begin the revocation process immediately. If you have prepaid legal, then I recommend you enlist your attorney. Be sure and follow the instructions to the letter and keep copies of everything just in case. Nevada law is 5 days (including the day you sign the contract) and you mail it to corporate office in Boca Raton, FL. Some states say email or fax but no matter what, you always mail it with certified mail with signature required. I over-nighted it with signature receipt required and then I faxed everything including the USPS receipt to 561-912-7991, ATTN: Corporate Sales Accounting.
Note: I can't say whether any of their promises were bad as I didn't attempt to use the product but in hind sight, I do know this:
1) nobody is contacting them to get in on this "great deal"
2) check ebay and you'll see tons of people selling their "deeds" and paying the $100's in closing costs and fees to get out from under the maintenance fees and dues. Their initial investment is lost.
3) there are lots of people making the same claims of troubles using their points, making reservations in advance, the bonuses trips are worthless, etc.
4) although you are buying a deed to a specific property on paper, in reality, you are investing in Bluegreen Vacations. They take your money and use it to buy or develop more properties. This means your investment in real property will never appreciate. (law of supply and demand. Bluegreen just increases the supply to meet the demand.)
5) they truly will not buy back your deed or resell it for you with a 6% commission no matter how much they claim they will. Think about it. Why would they? since the business is constantly expanding and will never run out of properties to sell, they control the value and they have already got your money.
6) Your points are only usable at Bluegreen properties unless you belong to the RCI exchange program. You become a RCI member only if you buy from the developer. This RCI program does not transfer if you sell your ownership in Bluegreen, the only part that is resalable.
7) your maintenance fee depends on the number of points you get annually or semi-annually. The maintenance fee seems quite high in relation to the number of vacations that you could buy with your points.
8) The bonus traveler's plus program appears to make available to you an unlimited number of short notice 7 night vacations for 3000 points. Even if this is actually true and you are successful at booking it thru RCI, this is not transferable if you sell your ownership.
10) The big VIP bonus plan that allows you to rent condos at the bluegreen resorts with short notice for cash without using your points requires a 2 night minimum. If you ask your salesperson to check availability of a particular time within the next 30days, they will tell you that you can't do it without being an owner because the phone lines would be jammed preventing the real owners from making reservations. Thus there is no way to validate any of their claims. And there are no guarantees that you can get a room when and where you want although the salesperson will bring up examples when they booked vacations in high season.
11) They provide free accommodations to return for "owner training" once you buy but these are actually more high pressure upgrade sales.
If they were a legit business,
1) you could take the material home and research and decide
2) you could pay one price now and your investment would be worth more in the future. In reality, No matter how good the vacation business becomes, you can never sell your "points" anywhere close to your initial investment.
3) you would be buying ownership in a fixed property and not in one that continuously grows. Our contract shows some property in Arizona even though we thought we were buying in vegas. The contract person said it is random but it doesn't matter because your points are for any bluegreen resort and the vip bonus is for any of their resorts as well.
4) the charter incentives (RCI membership, Traveler's Plus, short term notice cheap rates at Bluegreen properties, the 6 vacations for $209 each, a 4 day cruise for $179 each person, etc ) would be transferable with the deed.
5) You would be able check availability of rooms for certain dates and locations without being an owner. You would also be able to confirm the number of points needed for a prospective vacation. Basically they say that the average 1 week vacation takes 5 to 6000 points. Before you decide, you should be able to attempt to book 3 prospective vacations so you can decide how many points should purchase. Also, they say you can call any of the bluegreen resorts within 45 days and get a 2 bedroom condo for $79. They also say that if you call the resort within 24hrs of arrival and there are 3 bedrooms available, you can upgrade for free. I can see how the last part would be hard to verify but it should be simple enough for me to call 3 of their resorts and check availability for 2 nights next month or at least see documented occupancy statistics for the last 2 years to help me with my decision of whether this will work for me.
Think of it like this:
What makes a baseball card increase in value? The popularity of the player but more importantly, the availability of the card. So you buy a Babe Ruth rookie card from Tops. You are told that more and more people are seeing the value in this card so you should buy it because the price can only go up. They also tell you that they'll resell the card for you in case you decide to sell it in the future. They'll only charge you 6% commission so you think no big loss since the value is likely to continue to go up with just inflation alone. However what they don't tell you is that once they sell all the cards they have already made, they'll take the money from you and the other buyers, and make more Babe Ruth cards to sell. (They actually do tell you this but you think it is a good thing as you'll have more people in your club. ) So basically they are providing the supply to meet the demand. Also, as an incentive to get people to buy from them instead of their previous customers, they provide other desirable cards in the pack with Babe Ruth and those cards can't be sold. Now, the time comes and you decide you need to sell your card since you no longer want it and can't afford the up keep on it (security system, housecleaning, etc -- aka "the maintenance fee and club dues"). Do you think a prospective buyer will pay the same price to you for your Babe Ruth card? (Remember that Tops has a restriction that you can't sell the other cards in your pack and they must be returned to Tops if you sell your Babe Ruth). Because you can't afford the upkeep on the Babe Ruth card, you'll give it away to some guy who thinks he can enjoy it without having to pay the big upfront costs. Wait til he finds out about the annual upkeep costs on it!
Or, another way to think about it: Donald Trump decides to spend a $100 million of Trump Enterprises investor's money to build a beautiful 100 room resort on a deserted island that he bought earlier with investor money before he took bankruptcy. He then sells 5000 shares in that resort for $20K and charges $1400 a year for the privilege to use that resort for one week. Not only does he sell shares, he rents out the rooms to the general public. As a typical night in that resort is $400, you think it is a good investment. It also stands to reason, that as more and more people desire to stay on that island, the nightly rate can only go up and there will eventually be people who would spend $25K to get that $200 a night deal. However, you forget that ole dealin Don is building another resort right next door and he intends to sell another 5000 shares at $20K and once those are sold he intends to build another one right next door on that *endless* beach. To get people to buy his shares, he offers great incentives with resale restrictions. Deals for short notice stays at his resorts and resorts all around the world. Deals that can't be verified until after you purchase. Deals that have no guarantee that they are even usable. Restrictions on resale but other restrictions that basically imply that if a current "owner" can no longer spend the additional $3000 to use their $1400 room, they are not allowed to sell the room to someone else because they are not the name on the share (a restriction that you didn't think would matter while you were sitting in a noisy room listening to all the hype about the resort on your "free" trip to Vegas). Suddenly you now realize that if you don't pay the $1400 for the room you can't afford to get to, you will be in default and not only will your credit score will be ruined, but collection agencies will hound you until you take bankruptcy. So the only solution is to get a high interest credit card loan to spend the $4400 to take that well deserved vacation anyway and then you'll be happy (as the timeshare salesperson will tell you that is what vacations are all about). However, you soon realize that at that rate, you will eventually end up taking bankruptcy anyway so you decide to sell your timeshare to some 3rd party company who has to pay Donald Trump a $350 transfer fee and other closing cost. You soon realize that since this company has to make a profit and nobody is willing to take over your maintenance fee and dues, in order to sell, you agree to pay the new owner's (aka "sucker") first year of maintenance, the xfr fee, the club dues, and a $500 visa gift card just so long as it is under the $4400 you would have had to spend to use the week on the beach on Trump Island! (go to ebay and check out "bluegreen" under timeshares if you don't believe me)
Keep in mind, that an investment is only an investment if it can possibly increase in value. As you can see, timeshares are not investments but rather ponzi schemes. If you owned a property that rents for $400 / night, why would you rent it to someone for $200 a night? Only if it is not going to be rented and that is an unknown all the way up to the night and it is in the off season where it would only rent for $200/night anyway. (Don't kid yourself, they keep statistics on occupancy rates and they know in advance when certain events and shows will be in town. They have a pretty good idea what the market -- the demand -- will be.) And, since you presold the room to someone for $1400 already, you don't even need to rent it out if the timeshare owner doesn't show. Therefore, anything over $0/night is pure and additional profit. That's why they sell those rooms to 3rd parties like priceline, expedia, and hotwire.
Oh, and if you think that Bluegreen is different because they aren't selling specific weeks in a specific resort -- the traditional timeshare -- the scheme is just the same even if they call it "vacation ownership". Whenever they sell all of their "product" (as they call it), they just make/build/buy up more. As the cost to make more goes up, they increase the price. When the market crashes and people take bankruptcy or pay to give their shares to those with disposable income (see ebay), the cost to make more goes down and so does the price of the product. If the market goes up and demand increases, they just sell more. SO no matter what, the person who bought the "timeshare" / "vacation" in the first place is the loser and the person that started the scheme walks away with all the money.
BLUEGREEN VACATIONS, like every timeshare business, is not interested in making your life better by "forcing" you to take vacations because you already paid for them. They are interested in stealing your hard earned money to allow them to travel and see the world everyday of their lives and not work a single day of it.
TIMESHARES ARE NOT, AND NEVER WILL BE, CONSIDERED REAL PROPERTY INVESTMENTS.
Product or Service Mentioned: Bluegreen Resorts Vacation Ownership.