Skip to comments.Anyone Have Any Experience with Silverleaf's Award Verification Center Time Share Pitch?
Posted on 05/16/2012 7:20:15 PM PDT by aruanan
I know a young refugee who filled out a card for one of those "You can win this car!" at the local mall. Several weeks later he got an Award Verification Center bulk rate blue card saying that he had WON a BMW or a Mercedes or something else exotic or $40,000 or a vacation and had 72 hours to call. I heard about this when his brother told me that he had won a car and was on the home phone with the guy who was going to give him the car. I told him it was a scam and asked 72 hours as of when?
But it was all ignored because he had filled out the card and now the guy was calling so it must be legit, right? At the time I didn't know it was from the AVC because he said he had gotten "a letter." When I saw the card, I just laughed and said I had received these over the years and that they always wanted something like a deposit or to make a pitch for a vacation or something they could use to generate revenue.
I appealed to reason. "Look," I said. "These guys have this stuff set up in malls across the country. They're sending out thousands of these cards per month. They have lots of people sitting in air-conditioned offices that have to be rented, manning telephones and using electricity that has to be paid for. And all of those folks are getting paid to call people like you and they've been doing it for years. Something has to generate the money to operate it all and maybe give out some sort of prize. Where's that money coming from? They're not doing this just for the purpose of giving people a bunch of free stuff. In the meantime, don't brag at school that you won a Mercedes or $40,000 because when folks find out what it is, they will never let you forget it. Go to your teachers, show them the card, and ask, 'Is this legitimate or is this B.S.?' See what they tell you."
Sound of crickets.
So they set up an appointment to go. I did more looking around online and pointed out exact duplicates of the very junk mail card he had received. No, I was just trying to rain on his parade. I got the "Yeah, yeah, yeah, don't even talk to me about it" response. At least I didn't get the fingers in the ears, eyes closed, and loud chanting of NAH NAH NAH NAH NAH! to drown out my negativity over what was clearly a legitimate attempt to give a 19-year-old a BMW or $40,000, all in exchange for a simple visit to some place a 170 mile round trip away out in the middle of nowhere. "Don't you think it's a little weird," I asked. "That if they had that stuff at the mall, you'd have to go somewhere SO far away to pick up the prize instead of going back to the mall. And isn't it strange how the guy on the phone said, 'You could win' instead of 'You have won?'"
Finally today he asked me to take him over there tomorrow. I looked again online and found someone from the Chicago area from the recent past who was asked to go to the very same Fox River resort. She said the people called asking for her son and, after being told he wasn't home, asked her how old he was. She told them 19 (the same age as my friend). They told her he had to be at least 21 but that she could go instead.
When I related this to one of the young man's brothers, he told me this was exactly what had happened with the call-before-72-hours-is-up guy on the phone. Their mom has since talked to a friend at work who told her not even to waste her time because she had responded to something like this once and all they did was pressure her to buy something and that it wasn't worth the bother. His mom said she didn't want to go but that he still believes there's a car or a pile of cash sitting over there with his name on it. He doesn't seem to have picked up on the fact that since he's not 21 anything won in a visit there would be going to his mother, not to him.
I called the local number of the resort and talked to a young lady in management and told her the situation. She said that there were no prizes assigned to anyone and that the people who came for the "presentation" would participate in a drawing for a prize. She said that "some people" have won cars. I said that, nevertheless, this particular young man believes that he has already won a car or $40,000 cash and that it's just sitting there waiting for him to come over, go through their presentation, and pick it up. She agreed that this was not the case.
I told her that if this family had someone drive them all the way over there and they discovered that this was exactly as I had already told them and as she now confirmed to me that she would have on her hands a situation to deal with from the youth's mom and boyfriend that would be a tale she'd be telling to her grandchildren. And, so, if she wanted to avoid that kind of unpleasantness, she should call him on the number they have listed for him and explain to him exactly what she had explained to me. The only call he got was from the boiler room confirming the appointment.
The young man said, "But I want to go and see for myself, because seeing is believing." I told him that if that was true, David Copperfield could fly and David Blaine could levitate instead of just making people believe that what they were seeing was real.
Sound of crickets.
I understand the psychology of the whole thing: Promise someone something so fantastic that all he'll think about is showing it off to his friends and how good it'll make him look and thinking, well, it could be true and you'll never know if you don't try. This is combined with repressing anticipated shame over feeling snookered into wanting something so badly by refusing to believe that there exist folks that would blatantly tell you that you won something when you actually had not. But you couldn't remember reading the fine print at the mall saying that it was all subject to their restrictions and promotional efforts to all of which, by signing the form, you agreed, even though you didn't bother to read the fine print because you were too busy popping a boner over how all your friends would drool over your beautiful new BMW--even though you don't have a job, or a driver's license, or insurance, or money to pay state taxes, tag, and title, or federal income tax, or gas, much less the car itself.
Delusion is the evidence of things lusted for, I guess, the evidence of scams not seen.
If you're going to laugh at this young guy and call him a moron, please don't even bother to post. He's usually pretty thoughtful, but I'm astounded at both his alacrity to believe this and his stubborn refusal to entertain any evidence to the contrary. If you have helpful suggestions, such as your own experience with this brand of marketing, or this specific business, or with how to help dispel the delusions of loot these a-holes engender by their calculated appeal to greed, please respond.
Heck, I can’t afford to win a car.
A used car maybe.
Horse pucky. Is it too good to be true?? There’s your answer..
I know people who have entered those contests but they figure out its a scam real quick when told to attend a sales pitch seminar. I put it in the same category as the Nigerian scammers but since its not online, people are more apt to fall for it.
If you’re going to laugh at this young guy and call him a moron, please don’t even bother to post.
I’ll laugh at him and call him an idiot ... is that better? And just why did you post this?
I will sum up what you just wrote.
Barack Hussein Obama... Hmmm hmmmm hmmmm
He sounds like an Obama Voter. And the scam is the same as Obama uses!
Is the kid’s name Borat?
My brother was looking for a job on Google.
Someone wrote him back with an offer. They would come to the area on a trip and he would be their on-call driver for a week.
Somehow the email instructions included names and addresses in Florida and California and some foreign place. Odd.
So then they said they would mail him a check. It would be his pay and expenses. He should cash/deposit the check and then Western Union the rest to a place in California or something.
I told him this was the oldest scam on the internet. Send a bogus check for far more than what was needed and ask them to send the rest back- before the check actually clears.
It took a long time to convince my brother that it was a scam. He took their check (which nowhere mentions WHO the money comes from) to the bank and insisted that they check it out thoroughly, they called the issuing bank (which was in neither Florida or California or where ever)
I told him that he could be in trouble for passing bogus checks and stuff if he did what they asked. The account either was empty or non-existent. It was a scam of course.
Do you know the difference between education and experience? Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don’t.
And once he gives up all of the keys to his entire electronic life, they'll hustle him into a great presentation on the value of time share ownership, especially for a young gentleman such as himself - who will have a full life ahead of him to fully utilize the timeshare experience. And of course you've heard all that bad stuff about timeshares, everyone says they're a rip off - and they were - they used to be marketed to old people, folks who forget to make payments and lose their timeshare, or are too old to ever travel to enjoy it.
But /our/ experience won't be a rip off. If he signs up, great. If he doesn't, Juan Gonzales will be using his social security number (stolen by a janitor, not anyone on staff, I assure you...), six people will be applying for tax refunds in his name, etc, etc, etc.
There is no upside to this. He will either get ripped off with a timeshare ownership (aka, meet Vinny The ARM, our financier...) or all his personal information will leak out and he'll have to deal with identity fraud for ten years. Oh! And I already know he won the free vacation - it's to another time share sales presentation in Las Vegas or the like - free room, amenities, even chips to play at the tables!
Just slide your card through the reader - these are for the deadbeats who take the prize and don't complete the required presentation. You've NOTHING to worry about if you do as you agree to do, attend the brief 2 hour presentation, get your card signed off, and the rest of the time is ALL YOURS. Please enter your pin too, so the bank can verify the transaction.
Oh, yes, do make sure you get the card signed. If the card is not signed, you will be liable for the entire cost of the trip, it's valued at over $3,000.
Hmm? Who signs? Our sales manager there. He's rather busy though, so you'll have to talk to his associates for a bit, just to keep you company until he has a free moment to scribble on that. What part of the sales presentation was of interest to you? You do like going to exotic locations, yes? How much do you spend at Starbucks? A timeshare is like skipping Starbucks only a few times a month, surely a worthwhile sacrifice to get a great investment. And it is an investment, you can sell it off later if you want. We even maintain a market - why, you could easily make MORE money selling it than you even invest in it. Just initial here that you agree to only use our market to sell your timeshare in - we wouldn't want some child predator or rapist to get something like this, right? We vet all our buyers.
This scam has been around a very very long time. This means they have a boatload of lawyers who know how to enforce every inch of the agreements, including confiscating personal property to satisfy the payment of the debt. By having the sole market for resale of timeshares, they get to sell new timeshares to anyone wanting to buy, and offer a very very cut rate closing (and high transaction fees) to buy it back - only you still have to pay any back dues or fines - we could just take it off your hands and waive those away if you'd like.. You did buy the optional Timeshare Policy Insurance, right?
Liberals fall for the same scam every time they vote.
Politicians are always offering them a “bright shiny object”...
Any “guaranteed” prizes are just a bunch of cheap crap.
I have two free plane tickets waiting for me to call as a I type.
Some people just have to learn the hard way.
He shoulda stuck with some boring old CDs.
Signing up for free stuff is an invitation for junk mail and phone calls.
I went to one of these recently. It was a mail invitation and I was suppose to get a 7 inch Android tablet. It was only 15 minutes away. I walked in the door at the appointed time and identified myself and the gal handed me a box containing a 7 inch android tablet. Then I was ask to listen to a presentation about a buyer’s club, I did and I left with the tablet.
Now my intent was to give it to one of my grandchildren for a birthday gift, and I could have... It worked. However I did not because it had this marketplace on it and it was someplace in china market and I didn’t want to screw with it. It would probably be usable by someone who had lots of time to mess with it. I just bought the kid a Kindle Fire for 199 at Wallmart.
OK Mr. Rain On Everyone’s Parade, I suppose you don’t believe I won the European Coca Cola lottery without entering, and my 7,000,000.00 check won’t be here next week? That nice lady I gave all of my personal banking info to wouldn’t lie, especially after her Catholic school upbringing.
You are just mean...what do you do for fun? Tear wings off of Fly’s?
I’ve read about this bogus check, please return a money order scam. As many creative ways that people have of doing good, there are probably double that for doing evil.
Oh and don’t forget the “Your child is a star, let them be Ambassadors to DC or Australia” scams
................... If you have helpful suggestions, such as your own experience with this brand of marketing, or this specific business, or with how to help dispel the delusions of loot these a-holes engender by their calculated appeal to greed, please respond..................
Sure, I’ve been subjected to this type of a pitch.
A few years ago it was called “Hope and Change” today it’s called “Forward”
Take one half the population that sucks off the teat of the other half, and you’ve set up the perfect lack of mentality that fails to respond to their possible contribution to society.
It’s called a mailing list.
They are not affiliated with the schools. They charge huge prices for a bargain basement travel-tour package where the kids will learn nada.
Trips they could have done for a third of the price or less and without being treated like sardines.
You don’t have to drive him to heck, but you can wish him a nice trip and a welcome home after.
You see, I was given a free dog once. A foundling, by the time I had paid vet bills and the numerous fines for 'dog at large' (never could stop it from bolting for the door any time someone opened it, to go for a run--even if it had just come back from a walk), the free dog cost me over $1000.00.
The car was another 'free dog'.
Be careful what you wish for, FRiend.
Friends don’t let friends buy timeshares.
I have a Silverleaf timeshare, and am satisfied. BUT — and this is a very big BUT — I bought it independently from Silverleaf for about a nickel on the dollar from an acquaintance who couldn’t afford to keep up the annual maintenance fee.
Don’t do it if you have a hard time saying No to a hard sell. Because that’s what you’re going to get, and they will make it sound like you’re getting a good deal. But you most certainly are overpaying, grossly overpaying, if you sign on the dotted line.
I have a silverleaf timeshare that I will sell to you (or anyone who wants it) for the cost of making the transfer. Some people like these things, and can make effective use of them. At this point in my life, I’d just rather not.
Thanks. It seems that the confluence of having a hard time saying “NO” and having a propensity to believe in things too good to be true is exactly the site where scam artists like to set up their fishing camps.
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