Monarch Grand Vacations
Complaint 140821 Details
- Date Occurred: 07/30/2012
- Reported Damages: $2,500.00
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In the beginning of August, my mom Marina Tatarenko and I went to the movies at the Irvine Spectrum. There was a small both where you could sign up to win a free trip or $100,000. Marina signed up and a couple of weeks later she received a phone call from a Monarch Grand Vacations representative. I talked to him as well, and he explained that her name was chosen at the drawing and she could either win a free trip or $100,000, guaranteed. All she had to do was attend a 60-min MGV orientation at the end of August to learn more about the company.
At the end of August, my mom and I both attended the orientation, which ended up lasting about 90 minutes. Stan Colbert, an MGV rep, led this orientation and explained how it is better than a typical timeshare company because of its flexibility, many international destinations, great service, and available agents that could help at any time. After the orientation, we stayed to meet individually with an MGV rep because we were interested to learn more; it seemed like a dream come true. The young man that we sat with, James Lin, asked us where we liked to travel, and what we would want from a timeshare service. We explained that we were NOT interested in traveling to the MGV locations in the US (Las Vegas, Palm Springs) because these trips were easy to plan on our own, and we had no desire to go there. We explained that we wanted to only travel internationally in a convenient way, and wanted to stay in apartments vs hotels. James explained that MGV was the perfect choice for us because they are partners with a company called Interval International, through which we could book international vacations. He also explained that MGV had agents available throughout the day, and with one quick phone call, we would get someone to help book our vacation: find cheap plane tickets, bungalows, villas, and hotels, and that all of this would be easier, faster, and cheaper than planning it ourselves. This, of course, sold us because this was not available through any other timeshare company, it was flexible, and the contract could be passed down to our children, grandchildren, etc. We then sat down with Veronica, who walked us through the prices. We saw that we would have to pay quite a lot on a monthly basis and it would take a few years to pay off. Veronica and James told us this was worth it, and once paid off, all we had to pay would be the yearly up-keeping fee. It was already getting late, and we had been at the orientation for almost 3 hours by then and were restless to leave and at first said that we would think about it. Veronica began giving us discount after discount, not only on the contract, but also a free 1,000 points and free airline money to book flights. She said that if we didn’t sign up now, this deal wouldn’t be available again. It seemed like a dream come true, and we really wanted to save time on booking vacations, and this was promised to us by Veronica, Stan, and James, so we signed up. The young woman who walked us through the contract went through it pretty quickly, highlighting the main points. We really didn’t have time to read word for word through the entire document. However, we were given all these discounts, offers, and promises, and trusted that it would work out. We were told that our account would be activated right away, and within 1 month we would receive our Monarch and Interval International packets. I even asked James if I could call Monarch and/or Interval next week to book a hotel in Las Vegas for the mid-September for a bowling league. He said that I could call right away.
On Tuesday, 9/6/2011, I looked on the Monarch website but did not want to book the Vegas trip at any of their big resorts because I was only looking for a small hotel at a cheap price. I tried going on the Interval website, but could not sign on. I texted James, as we exchanged contact information, and he said that I should call Interval and I could easily find a number of hotels in Vegas. I called Interval International, and was told that I needed my Interval member # to enter the site. I explained that I don’t have that yet but was told by Monarch that I could start using the service right away. They said I should call Monarch and get the number from them. I explained this to James, and he said that my mom and I should get a packet in the mail from Interval soon with our member #s. Needless to say, I could not book a hotel in Las Vegas for the weekend of 9/9-9/11, but found and booked a cheap hotel on my own, without any help, within 20-30 minutes.
By the end of September, we still did not have our MGV or Interval packets. We called Monarch and were told to attend a new hire orientation on Saturday, 10/10/2011. My mom and I both attended this 90-min session, and were told to wait until it was over to ask individual questions. We sat at a table and waited to be helped by one of the 4 reps. We were helped last by Stan Colbert. He was surprised to hear that we still had not received our packets, and after about 20-30 minutes, he told us that the packets were sent to an incorrect address. He said that we would receive it sometime the following week. We did receive the Monarch packet, but not the Interval packet, yet again. Sometime later (1 week, 1 month??), we received the Interval International 80-page book listing all of their locations worldwide. However, we still did not receive our Interval member #s. We called and emailed Monarch, and were told that it would be arriving shortly. My mom asked to attend another owner orientation and was told that she already attended 2 orientations, and one of them was recently. She tried going to the same location that we went to before, and was not let inside by the customer service ladies. She asked again to attend another orientation, as we had many unanswered questions and still had not gotten our Interval member #s. She attended another orientation in December, again led by Stan Colbert. She was, again, last to be helped. She explained that we received our Monarch packet after the first new owner orientation in October but still have not gotten the main Interval packet or member #s. Stan said that this was very strange, but that Monarch was completely separate from Interval, and we had to keep calling Interval to get our member #s. My mom explained that we have been trying to plan an overseas summer vacation since we signed up for MGV at the end of August, but have been unable to do this because we did not have these Interval numbers. Stan said that Monarch could not do anything and that we needed to keep calling Interval. He gave my mom the number and that was the only help he provided. While my mom was waiting for Stan, a Monarch rep named Andrea sat down with her and my mom explained that we wanted to book an overseas vacation for the summer of 2012. Andrea told my mom “good luck” and said that this would be extremely difficult to do.
My mom called Interval International and was told that she should have received the member #s in the mail. She spoke with a woman named Perla, who got frustrated with my mom and hung up on her at one point (Perla was on speaker and I heard her hang up on my mom). My mom called her back and explained that we signed up for MGV at the end of August and received our Monarch packet late, our Interval locations book late, but still no numbers. Perla said she could request for our numbers to be sent via mail, and said she would also email them to us. We never received the email, and when we spoke with Monarch a few weeks later in January, they confirmed that Perla had submitted the request, and our Interval packet would be sent to us within 6-8 weeks! That means that we were still unable to use the Monarch or Interval services, and could not plan our international vacation for the summer. Perla also failed to send us an email or call us to let us know the request was submitted. Basically, we were left in the dark on what’s going on yet again.
We called and emailed Monarch to schedule an in-person meeting in January, as we could not use their service, no one was helping us, and we were not getting anything that we were paying for. The MGV rep I received an email response from in December and January, Karen McCorie, only provided me with the MGV owner services email and phone number, and said that once we call we would get all the help we needed. She completely disregarded my entire email explaining our very serious situation that did not require only some customer service help. When my mom tried making an in-person appointment via phone and email, she was told that this was “not possible” and that the headquarters location of Monarch in Laguna Hills was for employees only, and we would not even be able to get inside. One of the phone reps my mom spoke with told her to call back after lunch time (she said lunch was 12-2pm and no one would be in the office). When my mom called back a little after 2pm, the voicemail said that the office was already closed. After several emails and phone calls, we were finally told that we could go down to the main headquarters location in Laguna Hills between 8m and 5pm to speak with someone in person. An appointment with an actual representative was never made, as we were told that anyone and everyone would be able to help us.
In order to attend the appointment at the Laguna Hills location on Thursday, 1/26/2011, my mom and I both had to request to leave early from work, and lost precious work time that we both had to catch up on (we did not receive paid time off for this either). I had to leave at 3pm in order to beat rush hour traffic from Torrance, as it is about 40-45 miles away from the MGV office, and then had to drive all the way back home to downtown Los Angeles – so this was an extra 80+ miles that I had to drive that day. When my mom and I arrived at the office in Laguna Hills, there was a front entrance, so whoever we spoke with over the phone was either trying to avoid having us show up, has never been to that office, or was just lying – the question is, why? All we wanted was a meeting to speak with someone in person because phone calls and emails only provided us with more customer services numbers and email addresses, and no actual answers to our questions. Director of Operations, Louise Gavin, said she would be willing to speak with us and listen to our situation. We explained all of the above to her in great detail, but unfortunately, she did not have any solid answers for us. After about 15-20 minutes, she began saying that she was extremely busy and would have to leave soon, and that the office closes at 5pm. However, she did promise to begin researching our case the very next day, Friday, 1/27. She also promised to have an update on the case for us on Monday, 1/30. Come Monday, she did not email or call either one of us. My mom began calling and emailing her after 2pm, and finally received a response in the evening. Louise told her that not only did she not begin looking into the case, but that she was so busy that she did not know when she would be able to look into it. We found out a few days later, that she passed our case on to Stan Colbert, the MGV rep that led the new owner orientations.
In February, we began dealing with only Stan Colbert, as he was now in charge of our case. In the first week of February, we filed an official cancellation letter to MGV through Stan. I personally spoke with Stan for almost 2 hours during work , explaining our entire situation from start to finish. Stan twisted my words, saying that we did not attend “3 or 4” orientations, but “only 2.” I attended 2, including the very first orientation in August, but my mom attended 3. Stan tried saying that because we don’t have our facts straight with the number of orientations we attended, that our cancellation would probably not be taken seriously. He said that according to him, the only issue here was “bad customer service.” I kept asking him how we could use our service to book an international trip without the Interval International member numbers (that we still didn’t have at this point), and his response was “you still have access to use the other Monarch Grand Vacation resorts.” Basically, he said that we didn’t have a case because we had access to use the resorts in Las Vegas, Palm Springs, and other small location in the states that we were never interested in in the first place. Stan promised to send our cancellation letter for review and have a response for us within 1 week. The very next day after we submitted the cancellation, he himself responded after 8pm from his personal email, telling us that our cancellation has been “declined.” The reason for the denial was that, according to Interval Int’l, we called them back in the beginning of September, which was proof that we used their service. If you recall paragraph 3 above, it was me who called Interval in September to try and book a room in Vegas, but I was told I needed my member number. That was literally the only phone call we made to Interval, and Stan used this as “proof” that we used the service. He refused to tell us who he submitted the cancellation to and who gave him the response. So to this day, we still do not have any proof that he sent it to anyone. He also refused to send my mom statements of her payments, and said that MGV never provided statements and never will. To this day, we still do not have any MGV statements. The only reason my mom knows how much she paid is my looking at her credit card statements.
Since we were still not getting any help from anyone at Monarch, and still did not have our Interval Int’l member numbers, we decided to submit a complaint to the Better Business Bureau in March. On 3/13/2012, we submitted a complaint to the BBB explaining our very serious situation the best we could in the 1,500 characters that are allowed. Almost 1 month later, on 4/10/2012, MGV responded to the case saying that they did “nothing wrong” and that we were “refusing what [they] had to offer.” They avoided answering pertinent questions, for example regarding the statements, and made it look like they have been calling us nonstop trying to provide help. They offered to cancel our contract, but not to refund the $2,330 that we paid for a service we never used. On 4/15, we responded, and again listed our reasons for wanting to cancel. We accepted the cancellation, but stated that we still wanted our money back because we could not use the only service that we signed up for: booking international trips. We explained that we only just received the Interval Int’l member numbers, meaning it took over 6 months instead of 1 month, as promised, to get to us. We explained that we could no longer book a trip for the summer, as it was now too late, which means that we paid $2,330 for the past 7 months for a service that we could not use. On 4/17, MGV sent their final response, stating that Stan Colbert, Louis Gavin, Karen Macrorie, and Perla Juarez, all tried to help is, but we refused their help. They neglected to mention that Perla hung up on my mom, failed to send us our Interval member numbers via email, that Karen M. only provided us member service numbers and email, that Louise never bothered working on our case and just passed it along, and that Stan twisted our words and has refused to help us. MGV also stated that they would not be willing to give us a refund, as we have been able to use the service fully, but “denied help” from the representatives. They stated that their “offer is good until April 20th.” After this, the BBB case was closed, and we had nowhere to respond. Whoever was in charge of responding to the BBB case from Monarch did not provide their contact information, name, and did not try to get a hold of us outside of the case to confirm cancellation.
The very same evening that the case was closed, 4/17, my mom was charged with another monthly fee and the early up-keeping fee. My mom called her credit card company, explained our entire MGV situation to the representative, told him that we have proof that MGV offered to cancel our contract and we accepted, and he gladly refunded those two charges and cancelled her card so she wouldn’t keep getting charged.
Soon after, in May, my mom began receiving contact phone calls and emails from the collections agency from Monarch, stating that we owed payments and were late. On May 24th, I received an email as well from a woman named Suzanne Lehman, stating that she had received our file and we were 27 days past due. I wrote her a long response back, explaining our entire situation, and stating that MGV offered to cancel our contract in mid-April and we accepted. Suzanne said that because we only accepted part of their offer (the cancellation) but denied the other part (the refund), the entire offer was no good. I told her that nowhere in the contract does it state that we could only accept MGV’s “entire offer.” And nowhere in the BBB case did MGV state that without accepting the non-refund, we were denying the cancellation as well. She responded stating that she “had no information” on our case. However, she kept emailing me every few days saying how we were late on our payments and how she “received our file.” I responded with the same information as before, and her responses were always “I no longer have your file, call member services.” And then she kept emailing me (I have 24 emails back and forth on file). After a while, she became very rude and kept telling me to stop emailing her unless we were making a payment. I responded and asked to please stop emailing me, as I would only provide the same information as I already told her about: our serious situation, the offer of cancellation, etc. She again responded with “I do not have your file! You may contact Owner Services.” I finally asked her once again to, then, please stop emailing me.
During all of this, my mom had been speaking to multiple MGV reps, explaining our situation with the BBB case and cancellation. One of these reps told my mom that they will speak with whoever worked on the case and call her right back. She never received a call or email back. Then another rep told her that it was yet another person that had been working on the BBB case. In the end, it turned out that Stan Colbert was the sole person responding to the BBB case. After the frustration and back and forth emails with Suzanne Lehman, and the multiple MGV reps, my mom and I tried setting up an in-person appointment again through Stan Colbert on June 5th. We politely asked to meet with more than one MGV member from upper management. Stan told my mom on June 7th that only he would be meeting with us, and no one else. My mom and I both emailed him and explained that he has not been helpful and has not been answering our questions, and for this reason, we wanted to meet with other members of MGV that would be able to take a look at our very serious case, as we were now field to Collections. Stan again refused, and scheduled an appointment with only him for Monday, June 11th, at 4pm. My mom and I both responded to him in the morning of Monday, 6/11, and explained that we would like to meet with more people (and have been asking him over and over)and that this appointment had be scheduled in advance because my work is not nearby and I would have to plan to leave early and ask someone else to finish my tasks. Stan responded at 4:11pm that Monday stating that he had “convinced” Louise Gavin to attend the meeting with us and they are already waiting for us. We responded right away and told Stan that, unfortunately, because he responded 11 minutes after our scheduled appointment, leaving us no time to drive from work to the Laguna Hills location, and because he failed to include members of top management, we had to reschedule the meeting. Stan said that we could have left right after getting his 4:11 email and arrived late, and he and Louise could have stayed later than 5pm. But in his email sent at 4:11pm, he states “I will be available until 5pm.” I wrote Stan an email the following day and a week later, but neither my mom nor I have heard from him since.
About a month ago, I submitted another complaint to the BBB, but have not heard anything. My mom then submitted a complaint to the BBB on 7/16, and we still have not heard anything from MGV. The only people we hear from are the collectors wanting us to pay for a service we never used. I contacted BBB directly, and was told that they could not do anything to help, and that if we wanted our money back, we should contact a lawyer and file a class action lawsuit again MGV.
Please take this information very seriously, as this has caused both my mom and I enough stress to age us 5 years. I am not exaggerating or making anything up. I am an educated, honest, hard-working person, and I have never in my life had my words twisted so much. I feel like my mom and I have literally been robbed. Both she and I have spent hours upon hours driving to Monarch, to the orientations, calling, emailing, researching, filing cases, filing complaints on other websites, talking to folks who have had literally the exact same issue we have. We have probably not spent over 70+ hours of work and personal time dealing with this company. It has taken me 3 hours to draft just this letter, and I am currently at work! We have yet to see any of our statements. The only “statement” my mom has seen in the past 2 months has been bills from the collections agency. I have had breathing problems (I have asthma) ever since we began having serious problems with MGV because no one is listening to us! I have had about 15-20 white hairs I the past 7 months, and I am 24 years old!! I have had to buy herbal sleeping and anti-stress drops from Sprouts because I cannot fall asleep thinking about how much stress, tears, and anger MGV has caused us. I have an appointment on 8/16 to see a neurologist because I have had hot flashes, headaches, and am on the verge of having a stress-related seizure because of this mess. My mom and I now cannot afford to go anywhere this summer because they have taken $2,400 from us, and somehow are saying that they have “helped” us. My mom and I both read through the contact countless times, and the only way to cancel it would be within the first 7 days. Please explain to me how anyone can cancel within the first 7 days when you don’t even receive your members numbers or packets until 1 month later! This makes it literally impossible for anyone to cancel.
Due to the severe stress, health-related issues, precious work and personal time lost, NO services or help provided, incredibly rude and shady customer services, refusal to provide statements, refusal to allow us to meet with members of top management, and refusal to work with us, we demand that our contract be cancelled immediately and all of our money refunded. We do not want to be affiliated with this disgrace of a company.
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Business Profile Summary
- Complaint Against Monarch Grand Vacations
- Complaints Filed: 4
- Reported Damages: $67,500.00
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