With Walt Disney World Resort, the Universal Orlando Resort, Sea World, and other theme parks, Orlando is one of the hottest family vacation spots in Florida. With so many attractions pulling in tourists, the number of timeshare units also shoots up, just as it does in Las Vegas or Hawaii. And where you find timeshares, trouble is never far behind.
A recent and pointed example of the Orlando timeshare problem presents itself with the Orange Lake Holiday Inn Resort. This resort is the flagship property of Holiday Inn Club Vacations, which operates 28 different resorts in the United States. Holiday Inn Club Vacations sells timeshare units at those resorts using a point system, like the one used by Marriott Vacation Club.
According to Holiday Inn’s own website, its timeshare owners pay an average of nearly $16,000 (USD) for points that they use toward yearly vacations at the resorts, and many pay far more than that. In addition to those costs, of course, come the typical timeshare fees for annual maintenance and other items.
For such extravagant costs, you’d think the product must be amazing. But you’d be wrong. According to reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, many Holiday Inn owners are deeply unhappy with their purchases.
This article will take a look at this particular vacation club and some of the recent complaints about it. If you bought points after a visit to the Orange Lake Holiday Inn or any of the other resorts, we’ll also talk about ways that Centerstone Group can help you with a legal, ethical exit from your timeshare contract.
Anyone who has traveled even a little in the U.S. is probably familiar with Holiday Inn, which operates both high-rise and low-rise full-service hotels throughout the country in addition to more stripped-down budget hotels that only feature continental breakfast and a fitness center. (Holiday Inn is itself a brand of a larger company, IHG Hotels and Resorts.)
The Vacation Club is a company that licenses the Holiday Inn name. In doing so, it takes aim at specific American vacation spots and sells timeshare points that can be used for annual vacations at those spots.
The Orange Lake Holiday Inn resort is the most prevalent of these, with its prime location next to Walt Disney World and features like a lazy river, mini golf courses, and onsite dining options. When you’re not at one of the local theme parks, you can enjoy watersports, poolside bars, and most of the things offered by every other timeshare resort in the country.
The Vacation Club also offers several other resorts in various popular vacation spots throughout the United States. South Carolina, Nevada, Texas, and many other states have these resorts, though the total number (28) is less than what you might expect if you are familiar with the globe-spanning networks of resorts offered by other timeshare companies.
Offerings vary between locations, but you can expect to find a lot of amenities like multiple swimming pools (indoor and outdoor pools), poolside cabanas, arcades, business centers with internet access/free Wi-Fi, and easy access to theme parks and water parks.
While that list may sound appealing, consider that you can get all of those amenities without a timeshare purchase. You might not see it at first, but you’re paying a lot more for that bedroom villa, hot tub, and concierge service than you would at a comparable hotel. (A hotel would likely also give you free parking and toiletries on top of all that.)
Annual maintenance fees (to maintain those beautiful public areas) are standard. You can expect them to go up every year. Holiday Inn also charges a $136 annual fee. If you can’t pay the full upfront cost of your timeshare, they will loan you money to finance the purchase. Of course, you can also expect a number of other fees common to all companies.
The BBB website currently lists about 900 complaints regarding the Holiday Inn Vacation Club in the last three years. After 176 customer reviews, the average star rating for the company is 1.1 out of 5. Based on these numbers, it’s clear that many Vacation Club customers are unhappy with their experience.
Many of the problems with Holiday Inn Vacation Club timeshares are similar to problems with timeshares generally. However, two particular points of contention have specifically arisen in the BBB reviews and complaints about this company.
Anyone who has experience with timeshares knows that intense and uncomfortable sales presentations are a basic tool of most developers. Reviewers complain that they felt pressured into sales presentations, with some people being told flat-out that they would not be going to a timeshare presentation, only to find one waitting for them at the resort.
These high-pressure tactics aren’t just for new customers. Some owners have complained about owner “update meetings” that turn into sales pitches for more points, a credit card, or some other product. Whether you’re in a sales office or standing at the front desk for check-in, you’re always vulnerable to these tactics.
Many complaints mention representations that were made in presentations and then not honored. Salespeople have made misrepresentations about the value of the timeshares (which owners only later learned had next to no value) and about the fact that maintenance fees do in fact go up every year.
Another common complaint about this vacation club is that it is just not responsive to its owners. This usually happens in response to cancellation requests, both written and oral.
Once a complaint is filed on the BBB website, Holiday Inn Vacation Club does respond, though it often does so in a very technical, legalistic way that is designed to serve the company, not the owners.
At times, the company even threatens foreclosure in its BBB responses. And if you are behind on your maintenance fees or mortgage payments, you shouldn’t expect any help from the company at all.
At times, the company does decide to help owners with their problems. Its solutions often heavily favor Holiday Inn over owners. When the company is finally compelled to respond to cancellation or refund requests, it does sometimes offer a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure. While this may have tax and credit implications, it is often a better solution than staying in the timeshare, keep in mind that it is not a solution that you should take lightly.
With Orange Lake Holiday Inn, as with any other timeshare resort, there is no such thing as a “free cancellation.”
Perhaps you are reading this and trying to decide whether to buy a timeshare. But maybe you are already a Holiday Inn owner and are looking for a way out. In that case, reading some of these complaints can be frustrating and disheartening. It might seem like you can never get out from underneath the financial burden of your timeshare.
Centerstone Group was formed to help people like you. With our proprietary strategies, we have helped many people navigate satisfactory exits from their timeshare contracts. If you have been lied to by Holiday Inn Vacation Club in order to sign a contract, for example, we can work with the company and our legal consultants to help you.
Sometimes with this company, though, the problem is more of a customer service one than a legal one. With decades of collected experience in the timeshare industry, Centerstone Group’s staff is specifically equipped for dealing with this problem.
We can execute pressure campaigns, including administrative complaints, with reticent developers. We can make them fulfill their cancellation promises in a timely way and get you the result you’re looking for. And, if you need to transfer your unit to the company or someone else, we can help make sure it is done in the fairest way possible.
And while you are looking at the BBB website, you should check out our reviews. As a BBB-accredited business with a 4.67-out-of-5 rating, we have an excellent track record helping owners get their finances, and their lives, back on track.
Family vacations are expensive, and it’s tempting to sign a contract with any company that promises that it can save you money on them. When that company is one that is as well-known as Holiday Inn, the draw is even stronger. Tennis courts, waterslides, and family fun from a name you trust can unfortunately lead to bad decisions.
If you bought timeshare points at the Orange Lake resort, you don’t have to live with that mistake forever. Contact Centerstone Group today for a free consultation and case evaluation. We will take a look at your contract and unique situation to see how we can make your situation better.