Monday, May 20, 2013

A "Lost" Italian Timeshare Vacation-What's Up RCI?

Last week, I publically lauded RCI for responding quickly to consumer issues via Twitter.

In the "no good deed goes unpunished" book of karma, I received a tweet from an RCI member who had his confirmed RCI exchange cancelled by RCI and was in danger of losing his entire vacation.

I'm reprinting his e-mail here, without any personal information, in the hopes that:

a)  Someone in charge at RCI will step in and assist
b)  I hear from anyone else who has encountered a similar situation

Many thanks for your interest regarding RCI’s cancellation of my timeshare week in Italy which I posted on the @RCI_Timeshare twitter account on 17 May 2013.

Firstly, my name is ______, an Australian resident. I have been an RCI member since 1989.

Here are the details regarding the issue I have with RCI.

My wife and I have planned a round  the world trip, commencing 1 June 2013 that is, there are only 2 weeks until we leave, as from today.

On 1 May 2013, we booked 3 timeshare weeks through RCI. All 3 resorts had availability for the required periods.

Availability was a critical dependency on our travel dates and arrangements, as to be expected.

One of the resorts is Perugia, Italy, was available from 6 July until 13 July 2013. This was booked and confirmed by RCI, of which I have a copy of the confirmation. On confirmation, we arranged our return flights to Rome from London 6th July and 13th July and train travel from Rome to Perugia. All travel arrangements were completed and fully paid.

On 9 May 2013, I received a call from out local timeshare group, Holiday Concepts, through which we deposit our timeshare weeks with RCI. A local RCI consultant, Courtney, working with the local timeshare group, discovered from their daily allocation reports that our week had been deleted. They were not officially informed and neither was I  informed nor contacted by the RCI person who actually deleted the week to discuss the matter. Fortunately, the local RCI consultant detected the deletion and contacted me, after trying to determine who deleted the confirmed week and the reason. Apparently the week was deleted by a RCI person in Ireland, and no reason was given by the Irish person and neither their name.

This local RCI consultant informed me that the matter has been escalated to management within RCI and the matter will be resolved. He said he’d call me back with an update. I am still waiting to hear from him.

After speaking with the RCI consultant I check my RCI account – two resorts remain confirmed yet one had now been placed on Hold. A resort in the middle of nowhere and not acceptable to me. Once again, the resort allocated, was NOT discussed with me.

13 May I called the RCI consultant, Courtney, at Holiday Concepts, for an update but was advised there was none as yet, He could not provide a timeframe for a resolution. I logged into my RCI account to check whether the resort might have been added back to the “confirmed” resorts, yet it hadn’t. In fact, I noticed a different resort had been placed on hold on my account, #6924 La Casella – Halfboard. Once again, this resort was NOT discussed with me and is far from Rome, into which we will be flying. It is in the south of Italy, hundreds of miles away

14 May I called  RCI Weeks on 1300 368 800 and spoke with a Marvin, based in Singapore. I advised him of the situation. He said he would look into the matter and call me back by close of business. I am yet to be called by Marvin!!

16 May I called RCI Weeks on 1300 368 800 and spoke with a Iskemdar, also based in Singapore. He apologised for the situation  yet apologies doesn’t resolve the matter. He advised me Customer Services will call me by close of business. Once again, I am yet to receive their call!!

17 May I posted on the @RCI_Timeshare twitter account a series of posts to which a reponse was received from RCI. Hi ______we would like to look into this further. Can you please email us at” I emailed the situation to RCI to which I was informed a response will be received from RCI within in 24 hours.

18 May an email was received from Jeff S, eCommerce Specialist, RCI North America advising “Olivia from the Australia office has been alerted and is currently working on your issue.  She will contact you as soon as additional information is available.” I replied to Jeff’s email enquiring what does he mean by working on your issue”  as the he confirmed week needs to be re-instated and what does he mean by “as soon as additional information is available” – we will be departing in 2 weeks, a resolution is required immediatlely, which is re-instatement of the confirmed week. All our travel arrangements have been made and paid. I have not received a response from  Jeff S yet.

I am now extremely furious with RCI and yesterday, 19 May I called RCI Weeks again on 1300 368 800 and spoke with a Rommel, also based in Singapore. After a discussion with him, he advised me that the resort, Domus Volumnia Residence, had withdrawn the week from the RCI timeshare system. This to me is a breach of contract by the resort , considering the week had been confirmed for the period requested. RCI should not have permitted the withdrawal! I suspect the withdrawal was made for financial reasons, that being the resort will receive more than a timeshare fee, or have rented the week out at a higher fee. This is my assumption. I have repeatedly insisted RCI ensure the confirmed week be re-instated – all my travel is arranged and paid. However Rommel would not give that guarantee. He advised he’d call me back but, the usual story, he hasn’t called back. It is now Sunday morning. I did suggest I’d “consider” a replacement timeshare in Rome, CBD, not elsewhere and the resort must be of a decent standard, not substandard, as some certainly have been.

I have posted the situation on RCI’s Facebook page however have not received any response from anyone who manages the page. I have tweeted the situation and your’s is the only response I have received, and I thank you for that very much.

I have informed RCI that if the matter is not resolved Monday, I will take the matter to the media and RCI will be held responsible for my travel costs to and from Rom and accommodation in Rome. They provided the confirmation on which our travel is based and add to that, their lack of courtesy contacting me. I have had to call them on every occasion.  I have friends and colleagues, locally and internationally, who are RCI members and have been informed of RCI’s lack of responsibility and extremely poor customer service.

Lisa, I will be most appreciative if you can assist in any way to have RCI re-instated the week they confirmed.

So much for the timeshare community to use social media to resolve issues, huh?  I am particularly troubled by the fact this timeshare owner posted the situation on RCI's Facebook page, yet received no response.

Can anyone at RCI reach out to this timeshare owner and explain exactly what is going on?  And what is to be done about the upcoming vacation?  Who is in control here?


  1. There has been some changes to the RCI structure in Australia which may be having an impact on this situation. RCI Australia is normally very attentive and I am confident someone will help soon. Just a pity for all concerned that it had to be aired on a global platform.

  2. Why is it a pity?

    The person involved had tried many times to get it resolved to no avail.

    The "global platform" as you call it, seems to be the ONLY way to get things resolved these days.

    I believe in airing stories about timeshare that are great and not so great.

  3. I am the person involved and aired the situation publicly in frustration due to the lack of professionalism and responsiveness by RCI. I had to repeatedly contact RCI - regardless they stated they'd contact me! Read my experience - I am sure many, and you included, if you're to associated with RCI, would resort to other means to have this situation resolved!! The lack of resolution and timeframe is totally unacceptable!
    On Tues, 21 May, I was contacted by RCI advising they will resolve the matter and have apologised for the stress and frustration! I now wait on RCI confirm it has been resolved to MY satisfaction!

  4. We can only hope that your matter is resolved in time to save your vacation.

    I think it's sad that no one responded UNTIL the issue hit the blog.

  5. Happy to report that I received thisi e-mail:

    Hi Lisa,

    Many thanks for publishing the situation in your blog – much appreciated. I noticed there was one comment from “Anonymous” which I suspect might be a RCI Australia person. I did try to post an update but wasn’t able to publish it.

    However, I do have good news. On Monday I was contacted by Jonathon from RCI, now based in Singapore, advising the matter had received priority and would be resolved. On Tuesday Jonathon called again with the good news that the week in Perugia has been re-instated for the period confirmed. In addition, RCI has increased my “trading power” equivalent to the week booked in compensation for the stress and frustration. He also did apologise for the situation and their processes will be reviewed to ensure this does not happen again. I give them the benefit of the doubt 

    Will appreciate if you can publish an update to my experience in your blog to indicate RCI Australia has finally resolved the matter for which I am thankful.

    Once again, many thanks for your assistance. I can now look forward to enjoying my time in Perugia, Italy 

    Best regards

  6. pCc:
    Date: Thu, 18 Jul 2013 14:50:35 -0600
    Subject: complaint

    I stayed at the Ocean Manor in Fort Lauderdale.,booked a 3 night stay, and the hotel should be condemned.

    There was next to no cutlery, dishes, no glasses, the phone ha all the buttons punched out, there were cockroaches and other insects walking around, the handle was broken off the balcony door, there were no pots and pans that were usable, it was not set up for even 2 people, and I repeatedly phoned the hotel, until they would not take my calls.

    I then logged a complaint with my credit card company, and they said it had to be dealt with by RCI travel. The amount charged was $357.70 and I am asking that a refund be issued.

    You have many complaints lodged with many hotels around the world.

    I should have checked the internet before making the reservation, and these will come back to haunt you.

    Your reputation is being affected and I will not recommend RCI to anyone unless this is dealt with.

    The dates we stayed there were April 17. 18. and 19th.

    I have tried to take this up with the hotel management, but they won't take my calls, and I beg you to please. My stay cost me $357.70 and I refund would please me.

    This was to be my trip of a lifetime, going through the Panama canal, but it turned into a nightmare.

    The package was booked through RCI cruise and travel on a package called RCIcruiser and the number is 5NM44854.

    In addition this was our 50th anniversary.

    Yours truly,

    Elaine Fidyk

    RCI number 5925-07185lease assist me with the following problem.

  7. Elaine:

    Have you tried contacting either RCI or the resort? That's the place to start.

  8. Because RCI has moved from Australia to Singapore it has been shocking, wish we had never bought it, am not giving my name as we may get more problems with them.