Taken for a Ride

Pricey travel clubs may have bilked thousands of Wisconsinites dreaming of paradise.

 

Thinking back on it today, Barbara Winters isn’t sure if she was scammed. Not outright. But she uses the word “gimmick,” as in, “It was such a gimmick.”

She first heard about Going Places Travel Corp. from her husband, Robert, who heard about it from a co-worker. This was 2008, and the small Brookfield company was said to be offering deep discounts on vacations.

The West Bend couple agreed to attend one of the outfit’s sales presentations – but first, they swore an oath. “We said we weren’t going to do anything,” she says. That was the plan, anyway.

But today, Barbara, 65, and Robert, 66, wish they’d never heard of Going Places. It’s one of two companies the Wisconsin Department of Justice is suing to win refunds for customers like the Winterses, who paid $5,243 to join “Castaways Vacation Club,” a discount vacation service that promised big savings but never delivered, they say.

Neither the DOJ prosecutor on the case nor the defendants will speak on the issue, but according to an affidavit filed in the lawsuit against Going Places, “thousands” of Wisconsinites have purchased memberships (typically for thousands of dollars) to “Castaways and Castaways’ sister clubs” since mid-2005.

Here’s how the Winterses say it happened to them.

After making the pledge to be cautious, they drove to a four-story office building just off Interstate 94, sat down inside a nondescript office suite, No. 101, with about a dozen other potential customers, and listened as Going Places CEO Perry Ruiz took to the floor. From his presentation, Barbara recalls a picture of an idyllic oceanside getaway and a startling promise – massive, members-only savings on condo rentals, hotel rooms and cruises.

“Who wouldn’t want a deal like that?” she says.

After the spiel, the attendees broke off in pairs with sales reps. The Winterses sat down at a desk with Ruiz’s wife, Lisa, who offered a free trip to Wisconsin Dells if they signed up today, then lowered the initial asking price (which the Winterses can’t remember) to about $5,000. Finally, she promised that the membership could be passed on to their kids, like an heirloom.

Robert caved. “That’s a good deal,” he said. “We’ll take it.”

Later, the couple fought over the expense. They took the trip to the Dells but never scheduled vacations through Castaways, not for trips to about a half-dozen locales. “Their prices were actually higher than what we were quoted by travel agents,” Barbara says.

The DOJ lawsuits accuse Going Places and Grand Vacation Club, a similar company that once used an office in Waukesha, of violating state trade laws. The DOJ also alleges that Grand Vacation Club’s president, William Bailey, and his girlfriend, Christy Spensberger, both central Illinois residents, orchestrated both companies’ sales of Castaways, “Outrigger Vacation Club,” “Phoenix Vacation Club” and “Grand Vacation Club” memberships through a third firm – Travel Services, Inc. Bailey’s defense denies this, but says Travel Services still administers memberships sold by Going Places and Grand Vacation Club.

Bailey’s lawyer, Milwaukee’s Michael Russart, provided a list of about $1 million in savings won for vacation club members over the past three years but declined to say how many clubs were included in the tabulation. “It would have been nationwide,” he says.

In 2010, the Texas attorney general sued Travel Services and a Texas company selling memberships to a “Sealand Travel Club,” but Travel Services wasn’t named in an agreement ordering customer refunds.

Meanwhile, the Winterses have no hope for a refund. And Randall Hoth, president of the Wisconsin BBB, doesn’t recommend that they hold their breath either. “A judge can order restitution, but when you’re looking at an entity with that kind of financial situation,” he says, “how are they going to enforce it?”

 

MilwaukeeMAG.com – Original article can be found here

Bailey’s London Based Timeshare Resale Hustle?

I’m still digging up information but it appears Bailey is establishing himself over seas as well.  I haven’t been able to confirm that this is him, but I would be extremely surprised to find out otherwise.  The company is was based in a “virtual office” in a Regus center in London, i.e. there wasn’t necessarily anyone in the UK.  I found a thread regarding the company HERE.

 

An except from the thread…

These William Bailey people cold called me a couple of days ago. I had previously been persuaded (stupidly) to part with £1000 to Global Travel Network to sell my Tarvel Emporium timeshare and had heard nothing (other than bulls**t) since then. The WB guy (Darren) told me that they could get my money back and that I only had to pay them 10% of the reclaimed money. It subsequently transpired that he wanted me to sign an agreement for them to sell my timeshare and that the reclaim was a free service offered to their clients.
I read their Ts & Cs and then pushed the guy to explain how they made their profit. He responded that they would sell the timeshare on for more than they paid me. Further questions elicited that I would have to pay a reservation fee upfront (I can’t recall the exact name for it or how much it was as I had by now heard enough of the sales pitch).
In my opinion is just another timeshare resale scam SO BE WARNED. I didn’t fall it a second time and hung up on the guy.

 

Bailey Property Consultants Terms & Conditions
This contract and the terms and conditions within is compiled for the sole purpose of protecting the vendor(s), William-Bailey Property Consultants and the purchaser(s) throughout the process in disposing Timeshare Weeks and Points.

The vendor(s), mentioned overleaf as ‘client name’, having paid the necessary deposit accepts that the primary purchaser has 14 working days in which to complete from the end of the statutory seven day cooling off period given that a signed: 1) contract, 2) payment authorization form and 3) terms and conditions have all been received by William-Bailey Property Consultants and in turn accepts the following terms and conditions:

1.   In the event of the sale of the ownership all additional charges including VAT and or legal transfer of ownership documents will be met by the purchaser(s).

2.   William-Bailey Property Consultants confirm that the deposits paid by both buyer and seller are held until such time as the ownership is sold. The deposit will be refunded upon completion of a sale when the transfer of ownership has been confirmed.

3.   In the event of a third party agent being used in order to dispose of your ownership this will deem the contract terminated and deposits held.

4.   William-Bailey Property Consultants act solely as marketing agents and as such cannot be held responsible or liable in the event that a purchaser fails to complete. However, William-Bailey Property Consultants will continue to market the ownership and will guarantee to secure a buyer within 21 working days.

5.   In the event of an offer failing to complete, a second offer will be made equal to original offer via William-Bailey Property Consultants or an associated company, whether it is by an individual or corporate entity. Should a third offer be refused by the vendor William-Bailey Property Consultants will be deemed to have fulfilled their obligation to the contract and therefore will be terminated with immediate effect.

6.   Cancellation of this contract will only be accepted in writing via registered post. The written cancellation is to include the unsigned contract and payment authorisation form. We cannot accept cancellations by fax or email. Should we receive your cancellation notice within seven days of the contract date, as mentioned overleaf, then all deposits will be duly returned minus a 20% admin charge. Any cancellation past the statutory seven day cooling off period will result in the loss of any deposits paid by the vendor(s).

7.   Any change, whether it is to the address or ownership details must be confirmed in writing. Failure to do so will hinder any sale of the ownership and in turn will terminate the contract. Failure of notification of changes will also indemnify William-Bailey Property Consultants from any legal action or otherwise, that maybe initiated due to non-notification.

8.   Any alteration, written or otherwise, to the contract details or terms and conditions will only be accepted when countersigned by both the vendor(s) and an authorised agent of William-Bailey Property Consultants.

 

I’ll deep digging and keep you informed.  What do you think???

Is the Travel Club a poor product or is it just Bailey?

How does Bailey stack up to his competitors?  I’ve already shown you his current reputation with the BBB for his numerous clubs which can be found HERE.  So I thought I should be fair about criticizing Bailey and his products.  Now the only way to be fair would be to take a look at his competition.  I had to see if they’re running the same kind of operations and having the same chronic trouble with unsatisfied members and poor ratings.  So I began to think…..could this all really be Bailey’s doing?  Is he such a bad guy? Were they his policies that drove multiple clubs, distribution channels, and marketing networks out of operations and into the courtroom? Maybe the travel club product is a poor one.  The only way to measure this would be to take a look at his competition, and that competition I’m referring to is….

Global Connections

Advantage Travel LLC

Travel Advantage Network

Star Vacation Club

Pulaski Tickets & Tours
So take a look at the results and judge for yourself…

Bailey, His Clubs & The AG’s

Posted: August 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

State of Texas – Click to view full PDF

State of Wisconsin – Click to view full PDF

Really Bailey? BBB Counterfeiting?