Can the Palladium Travel club just refuse my refund like this?

Charles Berger’s dreams of a future filled with fun family vacations prompted him to invest in the Palladium Travel Club. But now those dreams have turned into nightmares as he tries to sift through all the extra charges and blackout dates. Will he ever be able to profit from his “investment”?

Travel clubs have grown in popularity in recent years. At the same time, they earn the same negative reputation as their sibling, the timeshare. The two have striking similarities and we’ve seen identical complaints about each. There are hidden fees, downtime, previously unmentioned blackout dates, and difficulty leaving the program

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Will Palladium Travel Club release him from his contract?

Berger contacted us because he wanted our help in forcing the club to release him from membership. He listed his damages at over $12,000 and he had already filed a complaint with his credit card company.

Berger explains:

“I tried to book a room,” he says. “For example, I tried to use a free week, but was told my 4 year old was $70 a day. Certificates now have blackout dates that I can’t use. »

In addition, he had subscribed to a subscription with a “suite” size room. But now Palladium has told him he should book him into a smaller room because of his kids.

“None of that is in the contract. Also, the ‘special rates’ provided are more than if I just went to a site to book. I haven’t used anything from this travel club yet,” Berger told me. Now he just wanted to quit his Palladium membership.

I can’t say I blame him!

What a tangled mess! Berger had not been able to use his travel club membership once. And he said Palladium was setting up holiday roadblocks at every turn.

What is a travel club?

It seems that most travel clubs follow a business model almost identical to that of a timeshare. In fact, it may even be reasonable to suggest that the travel club moniker was created because the timeshare name was tarnished.

When is a timeshare not a timeshare? Answer: When you call it a travel club instead.

The travel clubs offer the buyer “member discounts” and “member benefits” at resorts in the program’s network that are supposedly not available to non-members. However, the complaints we see would indicate that these benefits can be purchased by any paying customer, regardless of membership status.

Berger isn’t the only one dissatisfied with the reality of investing in a travel club. A quick search of the internet or the Elliott Advocacy site will reveal endless stories of timeshare woes and travel clubs (post-holiday regret: stuck in the old timeshare trap)

And in our own forums, we often see complaints from travelers who want to be released from a travel club obligation.

So why do consumers continue to buy timeshares and resorts?

It seems that for the most part, these companies’ high-pressure sales tactics are working. They are designed to create a sense of urgency and exclusivity for the potential buyer.

Time and time again we see complaints that begin with “I felt pressured”. Or “They told me I had to sign the deal immediately or he would become unavailable.” Under these conditions, a consumer often signs a contract without fully reading all the terms.

This gesture is a mistake. A large.

Would you buy a house or a car without reading all the conditions? I guess most people wouldn’t. An investment in a travel club often involves thousands of dollars and long-term commitments. To complicate matters further, these contracts are often governed by the laws of foreign countries, such as Mexico. This type of obligation should not be entered into lightly.

However, on vacation in a beautiful resort, away from the pressures of home and work, inhibitions are lowered. Perhaps under the influence of a piña colada (or two), it’s hard to imagine the managers of these hard-to-sell presentations not having your best interest at heart.

Travel clubs and timeshares are designed to make the consumer feel like they have purchased something tangible when the product is often quite vague. Often, once a buyer arrives home, they begin to wonder exactly what they bought, and buyer’s remorse sets in.

Do your research on timeshares and vacation clubs before signing on that dotted line

They may research online and find that the “club” provides them with nothing more than they could have booked on their own or with a travel agent – without a membership.

Unfortunately, we also don’t often see a positive response to requests for help with timeshares or travel clubs. So when we first read Berger’s complaint, we weren’t very optimistic.

In his case, however, we have good news. Even before he had the chance to send us a copy of his contract, Palladium responded directly to his complaint.

“I just got a call from Palladium today,” he told me. “They said they would refund me – full cancellation of travel club membership and refund of all payments made.”

If you’re interested in a timeshare or travel club, be sure to do your research before you arrive at your destination. It’s never a good idea to make quick judgments about something that will affect your life for years to come.

There are many schemes and scams associated with these types of programs, and many have turned out to be outright frauds. It is imperative to check reviews and recommendations online and in real life if you think a particular club is right for you.

Timeshares and travel clubs have their fans, but we know that these happy travelers are the ones who have carefully researched their options and know exactly what they are buying. Remember that once you’ve signed a binding contract, even the best consumer advocate can’t do anything for you. So know what you’re getting into before you sign your name on this dotted line.

Willie R. Golden