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Suites at Hershey / Time Share Program
Posted on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006 at 4:22am CST by 3e1353c8
Company: Suites at Hershey / Time Share Program
Suites at Hershey, Hershey, PA
Spirit Incentives, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
We were recently contacted by a telephone solicitor on behalf of the Suites at Hershey in Hershey, Pa. I ignored the fact that they were contacting me through a telephone number that was on the do-not-call list when they mentioned that the incentive package for visiting their resort included a 4-night, 5-day stay in Orlando, Florida. My husband and I had recently discussed traveling to Florida for a respite from the cold and this might just fill the bill for us.
Being the wary consumer that I am, I had a lot of questions. Naturally, I assumed this was a time share presentation. No, the solicitor explained, this was simply an introduction to the Suites at Hershey, which were not time shares or condominiums. That really surprised me. Why would they solicit someone from Harrisburg to visit a pricey facility in Hershey? Did they hope that I had traveling relatives that were classy enough to afford $275.00 a night for a hotel, but seedy enough not to be welcome in my home? I couldn’t figure that one out. But despite my persistence, the voice on the other end assured me this was not a time share and I could take a look at the facility on their website.
Then we moved on to the vacation package. Were there any black outs? No, absolutely not. The trip to Orlando could be used at any time on any days. The choice was ours. In addition, there was a bonus of two tickets to any theme park of our choice. We would receive this prize, they said, after we had toured the facility and attended a brief, 45-minute presentation. All they wanted to do was acquaint us with this beautiful resort right in our own backyard. Ok…..how unique.
In addition to the Orlando vacation package, we would also receive a $50.00 Visa Check card. But it was even juicier than that. If we arrived at least 10 minutes early for our appointment, we would receive a bonus gift worth $100.00, which means $1.00 in value with a $100 sticker price, but what the heck. We promised to arrive early and tell the receptionist we had earned gift DCI2 for doing so. (I had much more incentive than this to arrive on time to my sister’s wedding. That didn’t work, but this might.)
A few days after making the appointment, a lady called to confirm our commitment to continue with this tom foolery. I guess a lot of other people wise up by now and need some coaxing back into the fold. Another thought had popped into my mind since the first call. Would we be asked to sit through a time-share presentation when we got to our Orlando destination? Somewhere in here there was a time share program, I just knew it. Oh, that is a very good question, she exclaimed. How smart of me to think of it. But, no, we would not be asked to attend any presentations in Florida. It was simply a thank you for visiting the Suites at Hershey. Ahhh hummm….
We arrived…10 minutes early…and made our way to the reception area. If you are not familiar with the Suites at Hershey, they are situated adjacent to the Hershey Outlets. We were greeted by a very friendly young lady with a green tongue ring. Drinks were offered as we were ushered to a small cubicle with a table and chairs. The first question out of my mouth was, Is this a time share presentation? My husband looked at me with his, “How stupid can you be? Of course it is a time share” look. And our hostess confirmed that with a “Yes, this is a time share program.” Ah hah!!! I knew it!! But Orlando and Disneyworld were just 45 minutes away. We could do this.
I don’t need to dwell on the presentation. Everyone has sat through them. Give us all of your life savings and you can go anywhere you want. Maybe. We had actually been considering a time share opportunity a year or two ago, but then realized that we had waited too long for that type of investment to serve us long term. But we kept an open mind and politely declined the offer of not just one, but two persistent salespersons. Truly, it was not a high pressure presentation, but it did last 90 minutes.
Finally, the moment we had waited for. Claiming our prizes! We returned to the reception counter and were handed a package containing information on the vacation to Orlando, along with the Visa Check Card, as promised. We inquired about our gift for arriving on time. That was news to the receptionist. I handed over my notes from the phone call, as well as a page printed from the company’s website that explained the on-time gift. Well, I’d have to call back when the director was there for that one. There were no gifts for being on time. Shucks!!
As soon as I returned to the card, I started to read the information on the vacation package. Huummmm, it was certainly not as it was presented. First of all, we needed to send a check for $25.00 to a company called Spirit Incentives located in Ft. Lauderdale. Within 10-14 business days, we may (or may not) receive a Date Request Form from the company. We would need to select three valid dates for travel and mail the form at least 60 days in advance of the earliest departure date. There must be at least 30 days between choices. We must arrive on a Monday or Tuesday, but not within seven days of a major holiday. We would be responsible for any taxes or surcharges. And, “while on vacation you will be offered future vacation opportunities in the Resort area you are visiting.”
And there were a few more details of interest. Your $25.00 deposit is refunded once travel is complete by calling Spirit Incentives and requesting a refund. You may or may not receive a refund if your date is not available. You should receive your travel documents two weeks prior to your departure date. Cancellations must be made in writing and you may incur penalties once reservations have been confirmed. Two weeks gives you a very small window of opportunity to cancel the reservations, so penalties seem like a foregone conclusion.
And here was the biggest disappointment of all. The vacation package is for five days and four nights, but two of the nights must be spent in Daytona Beach or Ft. Lauderdale. That means renting a car to travel between those two destinations, which are not a stone’s throw from each other. Of course, there are bound to be penalties for not showing up in the other locations. There is no indication what type of accommodations will be offered, but a cheap hotel would seem the order of the day. Since Spirit Incentives is not responsible for your loss, injury or death, that makes sense.
So buyers beware! The fine print says that Spirit Incentives will not be held responsible for any verbal or written representation made in conjunction with this office by any distributor and or agent that works on their behalf. The Suites at Hershey assumes no responsibility for the package offered by Spirit Incentives. In fact, the receptionist said he had no idea what was in the package because he had never opened it or read it.
Bottom line: don’t waste your time visiting the Suites at Hershey in exchange for the incentive package. You will just hate yourself in the morning.