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SFX Diamonds Rewards-Be carefull- They will take your money and shut you out!

I became part of the San Francisco Exchange (SFX, a time-share exchange company similar to Interval International) when I bought into the Mayan Bliss resorts in Mexico. When I registered they asked to upgrade my membership to a lifetime Platinum Diamonds rewards membership. I would get, along with other things, a credit for a time share exchange fee, quarterly deals etc.. It sounded good and without doing any comparison I bought into it for over 3k, with payments of 149$ per month. About a year and half into the membership I still had not been able to exchange the week I banked even though I was supposed to get 'priority' because of my membership and banking so early. Periodically I would call and check on my request and each time I did their representative gave me a new a different pieces of information about my request. Keep in mind this is, what I found out later, a different department from my 'Platinum Diamonds Rewards'. I said I wanted anything in coastal Southern California. I listed places I was interested in. Apparently that was all they listed, so then I find out my search was too narrow. I corrected that, still nothing. I was supposed to be able to upgrade to a 2 bedroom for free. After a year and half and summer approaching I have to book something, anything or I loose what I banked, the money I already spent. Come to find out 2 bedrooms are rare, as people with 2 bedrooms split them and sell off the 1 bedroom part and keep the studio. Exchanges in Southern California are rare. Exchanges came up and even though I had priority, I was not contacted because the person helping me set up my search was too narrow, so for instance a 1 bedroom in S. Ca. may have come up, but they didn't offer it to me because I had asked for the 2 bedroom upgrade. There was never a representative that thoroughly helped me set up my request properly. I told every person I spoke to that this was the first time I was ever doing this and did not know how things work and can they help me.... The bottom line is SFX has limited inventory as compared to Interval International or RCI. Next, My biggest complaint, the lifetime membership. About 6 months ago my husband was laid off after 15 years at the same company. We immediately needed to scale back. I couldn't make my payments for my lifetime membership. When they would call about my payments I would ask to talk with someone if finance to set up a different arrangement. They couldn't help me as that was a 'different' department. I was often at work, and unable to deal with this during these hours. Then it was the holidays. When I finally spoke with someone, I explained my situation and that at this time I could not afford those payments. I see that the SAME membership if paid yearly is about $200. At this point I have paid over 2k, I asked if I could just convert the over two thousand dollars I have already spent into the yearly memberships, understanding that it would not be 'lifetime' but I was trying to work something out, this would have been about 10 years of membership. They said NO. I signed a contract and I am obligated to pay the full amount for the lifetime membership. They asked me how much I could pay per month, I couldn't pay anything. I wasn't even paying other bills, I could not spend money on a vacation membership. They said this was the only way to not loose the money I already invested. When I said I couldn't pay Cindy Webb, the manager stated my account would be frozen until I could start paying again- meaning I would not be able to use any of the benefits of the membership even though I had already paid over two thousand dollars! She asked again about payments, finally I said I could pay $30 a month. She would have to get permission and call me back. A few days later she did call me back and left me a message. I was unable to get back with her and with now working 2 jobs got busy. In the meantime my week that I had previously paid for and deposited was about to get lost if I didn't book something and soon. Desperate not to loose more money (the weekly maintenance fee paid when I banked my week) I settled for something- nothing even close to what I asked for, not even in California! Okay, there is an exchange fee of $150. I have a free exchange certificate with my membership, the membership I have already paid over two thousand dollars for. I try to use it but can't. I call Cindy Webb back. leave her a message. Call her several times during a weeks time with very detailed messages, nothing. My exchange can only be held of 36 hours, but the representative helping me with this, sees that I should have a free exchange certificate and gets permission to hold my exchange longer. The next week I try calling other SFX numbers to get anyone to help me- to no avail. I was on the phone for over a hour at work, still no help. Apparently only Cindy can help me. My account has been 'written-off' and the only way to get it back is if I pay half of my remaining balance- over $400 up front. Of course I don't have that. I ask to speak with a manager in finance, no body can or will help me. Finally, that day as I drive home Cindy calls me. I explain again my situation and ask why my account was 'written-off' when she told me my account would be 'frozen' until I can make payments again. She stated because I didn't call her back. That she had called me several times. I explained that I only received 1 message from her. Yes it had been a month and half since that message- it wasn't my top priority, however I have already paid over 2k to this program! I would like my free exchange certificate. She can't help me. I have to pay the over $400 to get the account back. I was very upset, did mention that I would be making a formal complaint. The next day she calls me back. Same information. Finally she transfers me to someone in finance- last week they wouldn't help me now they will speak with me. I speak with a Chad. Explain again. He says he will try to 'help' me but needs to get permission from his manager. I ask if I could speak with his manager. No. He will call me back. That was 7 days ago. I had to pay the exchange fee on my banked week even though I have a free exchange certificate. If I ever get access to it, it will be too late, they won't reimburse me my money and take the certificate. I sold the Bliss Time Share so I won't ever have a need for the certificate in the future now. Still trying to get someone to help me so I didn't just through away over 2k! Consumers, if you want to deal with an exchange company that has inventory, use Interval International. They have huge inventory allover the world, SFX is a drop in the bucket. And clearly they are all about getting money form people without offering consumers anything in return.
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7 comments
#1351940

I have a search for San Francisco & they keep on asking to upgrade. But not going anywhere.

I agree there inventory very limited. Never again..

#1248931

I am having the same experience with SFX. One main complaint I have is needing to work exclusively through phone calls for reservations.

I have yet to speak with someone who is competent and knowledgeable. I wasted my lunch hour with a lady who clearly had her own agenda as she asked me 6 times where I want to stay during the phone call.

The company tries to present themselves as exchanging "exclusive and upscale". Big deal, if no properties are available for exchange, who cares!!

My understanding is SFX does not have consistent and constant relationships with resorts.

I am trying to get out of the membership but unable to contact the correct department.

I get periodic, random calls from the company saying I am not utilizing my program. Yesterday, I put the call on speaker so my husband could witness the conversation (he typically leaves travel arrangements up to myself)

At first he was laughing but about 20 minutes into conversation, he was quickly understanding my frustrations.

If we can cancel membership we will do so!

#1180142

Such a scam, these companies need to be shut down-especially companies like SFX, The San Francisco Exchange.

#1174102

Hard to believe that an American Company like SFX operates like this, I will be sure to let EVERYONE I KNOW get educated about SFX and their dirty dealings.

#1149805

This SFX company is just as much of a scam as the Mayan timeshare they are associated with, hard to believe they are still in business.... can only belive it is because more people need to hear the truth and be educated, which is what I am doing everyday!

#1149782

SFX is such a poor company, and it's disparaging that more people are being ripped off by them. We refuse to lie down, and will be posting all over the internet, as well as contacting local and national new media outlets, as well as congressional members and tourism boards.

#970433

Yes, we unfortunately had a similar situation with SFX, so many promises that are broken and unfulfilled, with little to no valuable inventory. They are just as much of a scam as the timeshare we had bought into at the same time. Shameful...

View more comments (6)
ID
#618868 Review #618868 is a subjective opinion of poster.
Location
Northridge, California
Reason of review
Poor customer service
Loss
$2300
Preferred solution
Reinstate my account

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