I have mixed feelings about posting this, but I want there to be a very public record of the interaction between my household and Silverleaf Resorts from this point forward. Silverleaf itself has refused to provide any written reassurances to go along with the verbal ones that they keep making and breaking, so I am making the written record right here.
As background, we have been timeshare owners since the late ’90s. I grew up in a timeshare family and loved the way we took vacations to different places every year, the way the resorts always had so many family-friendly activities and like-home accommodations, so I was excited to get into the same lifestyle before we had kids. We bought with Silverleaf Resorts, which had a resort very close to Austin where we lived at the time, and over the next couple of decades we upgraded our week several times to keep pace with our growing family. Especially being a large family, this is pretty much the only way we can afford to take a vacation, knowing that we will be able to cook our own food and everybody will have a bed. We currently own a “red” week at the Orlando Breeze resort, which we only just upgraded to in February of this year.
That’s when the trouble started.
From about May 2013 on, we have received phone calls every month from Silverleaf asking where our payment is and why we won’t make a payment over the phone on our overdue account. With the exception of July and August, where the bank for some reason stopped sending the dues checks I thought were being sent (a situation I corrected as soon as I discovered it, with an extra check that was immediately cashed), our dues have been sent and promptly cashed every single month. Our mortgage payments have been autodrafted every single month. Every month, they call, and every month, we explain this.
And still they call.
Last week or so, the calls started coming from an overseas call center, and I finally blew my top. I am sick and tired of getting phone calls every day, sometimes before we are really awake, from a company that can’t seem to keep its own records straight. First I hung up on the caller last Wednesday, then I made sure to check our accounts, make sure nothing else had happened to the payments that I had missed. All was well on my end, all payments had cleared my bank, all checks were cashed. I called back the Silverleaf corporate offices in Dallas, went through the phone system, and got a live person on the phone…in the overseas call center. I immediately requested that I be transferred to a supervisor or back to the United States, and he refused. So I hung up and tried again, calling instead the Member Services number. I started out talking to a person in the United States…who then transferred me to the overseas call center!! This time, the person on the other end gave me to his supervisor, who listened to my story and sent me back to the United States, to Damien.
Damien listened to my story, but continued to insist that my account was past due. Further digging revealed that he did not have a record of any dues payment from me in April. I, on the other hand, had a cancelled check from April for that amount, plus checks for several months before and after. He continued to get very upset at me and insist that his records were right until I gave him the actual check number. He put me on hold briefly, and then came back and apologized. The payment got lost somewhere in accounting during the transition from our old Holiday Hills account to our new Orlando Breeze account. He said he understood why I was so upset, he was very sorry this had happened, and he was crediting my account so that it would no longer show past due and no longer trigger any phone calls. He reassured me that we would not receive any more collection calls.
That was Wednesday, November 27th, 2013. They called again on Friday. And Saturday. For some reason they skipped Sunday, but they called again today.
Today, I have been nursing a splitting headache that seems to be some vicious combination of migraine and tension and has been on me for three days now. Pain so bad my eyes want to water, I can’t speak clearly (as usual, my fingers communicate better), and I spent most of last night tossing and turning in pain instead of sleeping.
And today they called back.
It was the overseas call center again, a woman calling herself “Amy.” She put me on hold a total of five times. Every time she came back, she reiterated her position: My account was past due. I have automatic drafts for my mortgage, but not my dues. Their system shows no dues payments for either October (cleared the bank on October 2nd) or November (cleared the bank on October 30th). She sees in her notes that I am upset by their calls and I want them to stop, but she says they will not stop calling until I agree to settle the debt. She finds no record in her notes of my conversation with Damien, and even starts asking about the December payment, which is probably sitting in the corporate mailroom half a world away from her as we speak. Throughout this, I continue to demand that I be transferred up to a supervisor or back to the United States, interspersed with repeated explanations that her records are wrong because the payments have been made and accepted.
After the final on-hold, the phone is picked up by Eric, who appears to be in the United States. Eric claims to be a Divisonal Manager, and he can see the record of my conversation with Damien from last week. He tells me again (just like Damien did) that he is very sorry, he will clear the account immediately and take it off the call list, he promises that I will receive no more collections calls from Silverleaf. I feel like I have heard this before.
At this point I’ll admit I became an obnoxious bitch. I asked for written proof that they were clearing the account. Eric said that nobody at Silverleaf would ever, ever, ever send me a letter either apologizing or stating that the account was clear and no longer past due. Round and round we went for about 10 minutes. I refused to shut up, because I wanted something more than the same verbal, “Oh, don’t worry, we’ll take care of it!” that I’ve been getting for the last six or seven months. Finally Eric offered me two months credit on dues payments, meaning we wouldn’t need to make another payment until March. (December’s is already out.) He said this credit would show up within the next three days, and he left me his phone number and told me to call him if anybody else calls me. I finally said thank you and goodbye.
I’m still cynical, but now I have made the record and I will wait for them to keep their word this time. I’ll be sure to update this post if they do.
Update: Eric lied. I still had to pay dues for January and February. My computer managed to lose his number, though, so he was spared a call back from me. At least they haven’t called us back.