The timeshare industry is big business in East Tennessee, with many people attending at least one timeshare seminar during their lifetimes. A Knoxville couple received an invitation last month and were promised incentives for their attendance, but never received them.
The couple was asked to pay a fee to hold a spot for a seminar in Gatlinburg. While they enjoyed their tour of the condo-style units, they declined the timeshare offer. As they requested the promised incentives for their attendance, the couple said they felt they were given the “brush off.”
Roger and Bonnie Legako are retired teachers. Last month, the Knoxville couple received an invitation to attend a timeshare seminar in Gatlinburg at the Holiday Inn’s Smoky Mountain Resort on Historic Nature Trail. The couple are Holiday Inn reward club members.
“They wanted us to try this vacation club, check it out,” said Roger Legako.
They paid a $49 fee to hold a spot at the seminar. At the resort they were taken on a tour and they watched a video presentation. They figured even if they didn’t buy a timeshare, they’d come out ahead.
“Well if you check it out, we’ll give you a hundred dollar check and 60,000 IHG points,” said Roger Legako, describing the benefits he said he was promised.
The Legakos said they knew the sales pitch would be high pressure, but the salesperson, they said, was pleasant.
“He set us down at a table, told us about himself about us, asked what we liked and everything,” said Bonnie Legako.
The couple said they were shown a pretty expensive unit and were told they’d be eligible to stay at other resort properties. Nevertheless, they had second thoughts.
“I thought it was way too much. I’m not going to go into $44,000s of debt at this time in my life,” said Bonnie Legako.
“There was going to be a $1,600 a year association fee. Plus, if you stayed someplace you had to pay the cleaning fee,” said her husband.
The couple politely declined the offer, but the deal to attend the seminar, regardless of their decision, included those 60,000 points and cash back.
“They said it would be immediately. They would hand the cash to us,” said Bonnie Legako.
“They kept on coming up with excuses without giving us our money or our points,” Roger Legako said.
The Legakos said they pointed out the promised incentives to their salesman.
“He was all apologetic and said our manager has to okay everything, but all my phone calls to IHG, to the corporate office, said, no that’s not true,” said Roger Legako.
Frustrated and tired of waiting, the couple said they left the resort without their $100 or their 60,000 points.
WATE 6 On Your Side called Holiday Inn Club Vacations’ sales office in Florida and the local number in Gatlinburg. We had better luck connecting locally. Within two days this response was sent: “We apologize to the Legako family for the service they received after they toured our resort. We can certainly understand their frustration. We reached out to them directly to resolve the issue and have provided the agreed upon gifts.”
On June 28, a check for $100 arrived by FedEx. Holiday Inn Club Vacations not only credited the couple their 60,000 points, but 20,000 additional IHG Points were added to their account.
“Yes, I’m glad that it’s been resolved, should not have ever happened,” said Roger Legako.
The company said its likely there would not have been a mix-up and the couple would have received their incentives immediately had the sales manager been available when the Legakos were ready to leave the resort after attending the seminar last month.