FORT WORTH TEXAS, TEXAS -- I was excited to find out that Sear had lay-away package and I could take my family on a vacation after signing up with a Sears Affiliated company back by Sears itself. Even though Sears has it all through their website about the lay away packages, you get transferred to a salesmen and a pitch with a company called Registry Vacations and it was a package for 999.99 which they took out 75 dollars a month plus your initial deposit to put down.
I was told I would get two all inclusive Cruises and one inclusive Resort stay since I signed up during a promotional offer around Memorial Day for veterans. The one Cruise was an up to 7-day cruise and the other cruise was up to a 4-day cruise. The resort is a 7-day stay. I signed up after many more questions.
I specifically asked, "Can I use this at anything Sears shows on their web page and selected a cruise or resort stay?" I was told they had the same trips and cruises as Sears did. They also gave me an email address and log in information to their website which has nothing to do with Sears or has the word Sears anywhere on their website. No mention of their affiliation at all.
Just to let you know this does not include any airfare, wherever your resort or cruise ships departs out of or is at you still have to fly there or drive there if possible. The resorts are limited and usually only have very few dates per month if not blacked out, to pick from. There were many resorts that would still sometimes charge you a 50 dollar per room per day on top of what your lay away payments you are paying for.
The cruises without being told, make you pay port fees and taxes on top of your lay away program. The fees for example leaving for a 5-day cruise per person were 50-200 dollars and the cruise out of Galveston was 115 pp per day and your taxes. We ended up paying what you would normally pay if I went through Carnival themselves - over 600 dollars. This was my first big red flag mark against them. Carnival has fare even today as low as 299 a person right now.
They send this kit to you which is basically a vinyl large sized something that represents a bill fold and two certificates or what represents certificates and a booklet showing some of the vacations you could go on. All of this is worthless because you cannot use any of it until you've made at least three payments into the program, then even said we prefer 6 payments before you use a voucher. So on top of the 600 plus we had to pay our deposit and 3 months of lay away payments. This turned out to be close to 1000 dollars for a 5-day sailing trip to Cozumel.
I also had issues with this company taking out payments on different dates than what were agreed upon which does affect things for you if you do not expect that to happen. I had to actually turn off my credit card after talking to the billing depart many times. They were very unhelpful and had nothing to say sorry but there's nothing we can do. After the next payment tried to go through after I turned off my credit card, they called and acting real polite now. I voiced all my concerns and they assured me it would never happen again. So I continued. I made a verbal agreement so I felt there was nothing else I could do?
We took one vacation, a cruise and did enjoy ourselves, but after we did. Their website shows how many vacations you have left. The only way you can look up areas you want to go if your vacations says you still have a voucher left for that type of vacation. So even though I only used one cruise they took off all my cruise options and I cannot search to see what would be the least option for me to do on a specific date since they're going to slam me with all these fees which cost as much as the trip itself usually. Basically you have zero reference point to look at times, dates, vacation cruises, prices, or anything after you use up one of the cruises.
I am sure there is more I am missing but this place just caused me one heartache after another. Not very helpful, very inconsiderate and after they got you stuck they know it. Just stay with Carnival when they do 50 down per person and pay it off 30 days before you go.
ARIZONA -- In May I received a call from Registry Vacations who proceeded to sell me a vacation package for 2 cruises and a 1 week resort stay. I opted to pay it off over 18 months and was told I had 3 years to use the package. In October I called an agent to get information on a possible cruise in May. He informed me that I would have to pay the total balance of the package 90 days before the cruise even though I had contracted to pay over 18 months. I was never informed of this at the time I purchased the package and none of the paperwork sent to me stated that fact.
This seemed like deceptive sales practice to me. In addition when checking their website for available cruises I found that the deal wasn't so great because of the additional fees that were added on. I compared prices on regular cruise websites and found I could do just as well if not better. I had my insurance company whose name was also on the package help to intervene and it has also been a major hassle getting my money back. Still waiting on the final refund. Avoid this scam! Poor customer service to boot. They will not answer their phone. They are also part of a larger company called International Cruise and Excursion.
ARKANSAS -- I have been a faithful Sears credit card holder for 28 years without ever having a problem; always paying my bill in a timely fashion. I have purchased Sears products from major appliances, furniture, home services to auto repair without ever having a problem with Sears. That is why when I learned Sears had started a vacation plan service, I went on the Searsvacations.com website and saw they offered a vacation layaway program. I had to call in for further information.
In doing so, the representative reiterated that they were Sears and I could use my Sears card to pay for the $999 layaway package in an installment plan but could begin using the plan once receiving my "kit" (vacation certificates). It consisted of both a resort vacation and a cruise. Because I was told I was dealing with Sears, I felt assured I would be in good hands. BIG MISTAKE! I signed up for membership with the representative and also referred my daughter who also signed up that day. This was on 03/04. It has been a nightmare ever since.
We were planning a family vacation to Hawaii set for Aug to visit my sister and her son's family who we hadn't seen for 15 years. It was going to be a once in a lifetime vacation as their layaway plan would allow all of us, including my grandchildren to go without having to pay all at once. I was told by the agent from the outset, pending availability, there would no problem doing this and that they book vacations anywhere like any other travel agency. Soon after I received my package in the mail, I started making my Hawaii vacation plans for August with Registry Vacations on 3/23. Below are the events of this as they occurred:
3/23 - Started the reservation request process for 2 units at a resort based on being told those units were available. Only at that time was I told that it would take 3-5 business days for final confirmation. All at the same time, I was told there was a computer shutdown and they were unable to complete my request. 3/25 - computer issue resolved but were still unable to complete my request because they could not find my daughter's vacation pkg info. Another 2-3 day delay.
3/27 - Finally my request was placed, I made the required additional payment using my AMEX and thought everything was set, (particularly since I was told there were still 3 or 4 of the particular units I wanted still available). 4/5- Request denied - units not available for the August dates requested - However, this was not what was originally told to me after having waited 10 days to get this denial, when their policy was that it takes between 3-5 days.
4/6 - Placed a 2nd request again based on what the agent told me was available in Aug. I even went so far as to change the dates and lower my room accommodations. Waited another 5 business days, charged on my CC the additional fee only to learn again the request was again denied. The agent's final words to me now was that there was in nothing available in Aug. that met my specifications and I would have to travel elsewhere using them or make Hawaii reservations through other means. UNACCEPTABLE!
At this point, and after all this time had elapsed due to no fault of mine, I'm totally frustrated. The grandkids are very upset and disappointed. So After hearing this, on 4/14 I went ahead and made plans using another source. It took all of 45 minutes to make my Hawaiian reservations on my own.
It's both interesting and curious that I was able to get exactly what I was looking for and they couldn't. It has become clear that this agency is not Sears as they represented themselves to me to be. And this agency can't or is not willing to honor the service they committed themselves to being able to provide in advertisement and verbal communication under the guise of Sears.
As a result, I have requested to cancel the membership via their Membership Dept. which I was told I had to do. In speaking with someone there, she was very sympathetic to my issue. And after reading all my notes verified all the facts I have expressed to you here, her response was that someone else would call me shortly and be better able to solve the problem. That person did call but did not say he would cancel my membership, to the contrary, he mentions my membership could not be cancelled after 10 days.
This was the first ever hearing this from anyone; never told when I first signed up. But even so, why am I being penalized for how they run their operations. I had no control over computer shutdowns, lost information and having to wait an entire 10 days for a request confirmation. It makes you wonder if these delays were purposely created!! But again, he too passed the buck by saying someone else would call me today. Haven't received that call!
I still haven't been able to speak to anyone who will definitively cancel my membership whereby I will not be financially obligated for a service that they, obviously, cannot provide or offer some fair alternative to this unfortunate situation. So far, I've just been getting what I have been getting, more of the same, THE RUNAROUND! I appreciate your time and anything Sears can do to resolve this matter quickly and without consequence to me.