SOS: Holiday Inn patron OK with two-hour timeshare pitch, not six-month wait
Byron Degenhardt and his wife had good luck staying at Holiday Inn during trips the retired couple made to North Carolina and the Washington, D.C., area.
So they figured they could endure one of those high-pressure timeshare sales pitches if it meant a few free overnight stays from the hotel chain.
Less endurable is a two-hour sales pitch that only partially pays off.
The couple had been planning a trip to the Carolinas so Degenhardt could visit an old Air Force buddy, and while on the phone making reservations for a Holiday Inn in Kentucky, got talked into taking a timeshare sales tour at the Holiday Inn Club Vacations South Beach Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Degenhardt, 73, of Madison, admits that he had no intention of buying a timeshare -- his advice to his wife was “never say yes and don’t sign anything.” But for merely listening to the pitch, he said he was promised a refund of the $199 fee he paid to take the timeshare tour, a $100 voucher to be used toward a future Holiday Inn stay and a free four-day, three-night stay at a Holiday Inn property.
Degenhardt and his wife attended the timeshare pitch on May 4 -- an experience Degenhardt described as “all right.”
“All it takes was money,” he said. “It wasn’t really no big pressure until the end.”
Degenhardt said they got the $199 refund and used the free four-day, three-night stay at a different Holiday Inn property in South Carolina, and on May 15, he mailed in documents to claim his $100 voucher for the tour, plus another $100 voucher promised him because there had been a problem with one of the Holiday Inn rooms he stayed in.
“After receiving no response as of the end of June I emailed to see what’s up,” Byron wrote SOS on Nov. 14. “Again NO RESPONSE. On 08/27/18 I called 855-795-1798 and talked to Sarah. She took all the information and stated I should receive a call or an email within a day or 2. Again NO RESPONSE.”
In early September, he said he emailed the company and again got no reply, so late that month he called and spoke with a “Courtney,” who referred him to a “Nick” in marketing, who told him to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I emailed on 10/14/18 and would you believe NO RESPONSE!” he wrote. “That’s when I turned to SOS.”
SOS emailed Sophie Merven of U.K.-based InterContinental Hotels Group, which owns Holiday Inn, with Degenhardt’s concerns on Oct. 26, and called and emailed again on Oct. 29 with more information about where exactly the timeshare tour occurred.
SOS emailed again a week later, and that same evening, Degenhardt let SOS know that he’d gotten a phone message from someone at Holiday Inn Club Vacations saying his rebates were put in the mail to him that day.
Five days later the rebates arrived with an expiration date a year after the date of the tour.
The problem with that was, “it was 6 months before I ever got them,” Degenhardt said.
He was later able to get InterContinental to extend their expiration dates to Aug. 4.