Monday, June 2, 2008

North Star Lodge/Inn/Resort - Vermont's Worst Customer Service

I write about positive Vermont Vibes. But, if you cross me, I mean really cross me, I will share the experience to help Vermont Vibers stay away from those same negative vibes.

The North Star Lodge or Inn or Resort (seems to have a few names) triple crossed me. Badly. At the Essex Craft & Fine Art Show last month I entered a weekend getaway contest. I got a call a few weeks ago saying I "won." Of course in order to redeem my weekend getaway, dinner for two, and $1000 online shopping spree, I had to be over 25, be living with a significant other, and make a certain income. I also had to agree to drive to Killington, Vermont to have a tour of the North Star Lodge/Resort/Inn. I understood at the time it was a timeshare marketing gimic, but thought the hotel stay would come in handy for my travels, could use the $1000 for the numerous things I still need for my house, and best of all, I could use the trip to write a Killington area Vermont Vibes blog post.

Mitch and I embarked on our adventure to Killington just yesterday, June 1st. Without a clear understanding of just how long it would take, we gave ourselves about two hours and headed down Route 7, over 125, south on 100, where we drove through Pittsfield and realized we were going to be a little late. Luckily, my cell phone was working and I called the North Star Lodge to let them know where we were and that we were motoring our way to the lodge for the tour as fast as we could. They said we would be fine.

Now I am one who is always rushing around because I always seem to have three too many things to do. That is a part of why I love Vibing, it lets me slow down and see the world - of Vermont. I also understand that there are not excuses for being late yet there are always excuses as well.

When Mitch and I arrived at the North Star Lodge, the receptionist treated us with disrespect, the short-man-syndrome time share man with the tomato in his hand treated us like dirt, and the woman who I spoke with on the phone got one look at our youthful, jeans-and-t-shirt appearance and said we were late and that was not acceptable. I said, "But we just spoke with you and drove all the way from Charlotte and gas if $4 a gallon." She responded by saying she was aware of how much gas cost and actually had the bitter-old-lady nerve to compare the North Star Lodge to an airport in that if I was late for the flight, the plane would not wait. In retrospect I had to think, was she seriously comparing the white trash "retro style" North Star Lodge to an airline? I mean look at this place - I am not good enough for a room that looks like this?
A place that can't even cut it in the uberly stylized Killington "big mountain" ski area by operating as a hotel but has to resort to timeshare operatives run by Endless Vacation Rentals (RCI) through a marketing scam company - Summit Vacation - located in the Berkshires, owned by a partner who already had a timeshare fraud lawsuit brought against him between 2000 and 2002 while timeshare scamming at the Cedarbrook Club also in Killington? (It also looks like Cedarbrook is part of North Star which is part of RCI which is using Summit Vacations as the untraceable marketing scam company.) And wasn't it Killington that wanted to secede from Vermont a few years ago and become part of New Hampshire? What is going on down there?

Anyway, after storming out of the North Star Lodge and crying for a bit in the car - not in their parking lot of course - Mitch and I slowly headed home and watched the $30 or so in gas just waste away. Not one to usually cry over spilled milk, I tried to bounce back thinking of all of the positive vibrations I have felt and impacted upon others of my years of Vermont Vibing. It really roughed up my psyche being treated that way and I tried to think of what I had done to deserve to be treated with such rudeness and lack of civility and I realized - nothing. Many others had endured such scams and violations and it was my job to use my talents to bring this issue to light, so hence forth I share.

With this knowledge under my belt (and not to mention I thought I was lookin' pretty hot that day - probably enough so to make Ms. Panties-in-a-Bunch think I would make all the scabby and leering time share men think impure thoughts and piss of the time share wives who were paying with their daddy's trust funds) Mitch and I shared some of our own hugs and kisses and took a breather in Hancock.

We stopped at the Hancock Hotel Vermont Home Bakery where I healingly browsed for local Vermont products and chatted with the gal behind the counter about hummingbirds. Waaaayyyyy more my style establishment - local, Vermont, authentic, real... Then we headed back the way we came only this time thoroughly enjoyed the scenic Route 125 - I highly recommend this route if you happen to be in the area. I remember going to the Hancock Soup Dinner a few years back, but never having driven on 125. We stopped at the glorious Texas Falls and breathed deep for a while enjoying the sounds, smells, and sites of the waterfalls. Then we walked the entire nature path in silence, each deep in our own thoughts, thinking about the dreadful event at the North Star Lodge, our own stresses about moving and the immense time and energy it takes to get settled, and stressing about the state of the world and the inability to overcome the detrimental cost of living battle each of us is up against. Maybe the timeshare sales were dependent on the North Star Lodge staff feeding their families for the next month and maybe not. I find that hard to believe especially when the marketing phone calls said this program was for tour attendees to spread the word about the North Star Lodge. Lies are never the way to go and I am certainly doing my part in spreading the word.

Mitch and I departed from our jaunt in the woods and stopped again in East Middlebury for dinner at Rosie's where the customer service was fantastic, the food yummy, and the atmosphere filled with real, living Vermonters, like us, working hard to make life work without treating others like subordinates. Good for them.

Love and Light...

15 comments:

xo.vegan.xo said...

My wife and I made a similar trip to Killington to go on the tour for the Northstar Lodge and were greeted with rudeness as well. I had entered the contest through the going green expo at UVM and won what sounded like a great prize. The woman on the phone told me all i had to do was show up on time and take the tour. When I got there and they had discovered I was a Canadian citizen and not American they would not give me the prize and treated me like I was an absolute idiot. The place was a dump too, it was like the motel 6 of "resorts" or whatever they call themselves.

PS: We think your blog is great! I have just recently moved to vermont (and my wife just recently moving back to vermont) and we are having a great time visiting all the little towns around vermont.

Rachel Carter said...

UPDATE! To date, I have received quite a few emails similar to the above comment - people who entered and won a vacation giveaway contest at the Chew Chew Festival and other places as well.
First I will say - rock on people who won't take it from the mass marketing Man and thanks for being in touch!!
Second - WOOHOO to the power of the Blog!!

Cheryl said...

We're also Charlotters and recently recieved an invitation to the tour at Killington. Has everyone who responded to Summit Vacations come away disappointed? or are we just hearing from the angry ones? Did anyone go on the tour, recieve their "free" gifts and come away OK with the experience?

Luka said...

Hey, I'm also wondering if anyone has had any good experiences or at least was able to leave with these promised prizes? Do you think that if you had stayed and took the tour they were going to make good with the prizes, regardless of whether you bought something?

Anonymous said...

Ha - YOU were extremely lucky to be turned away!

I am embarrassed to admit it, but my fiance and I went to the "presentation" at Northstar Lodge after "winning" the $1500 shopping spree and actually were talked into purchasing a timeshare unit (stupid, stupid - NEVER buy one of those things). This is a mistake for which we will be paying handsomely for the rest of our lives.

And the lovely prizes?? We were give a web site where we could shop - and yes, we could choose whatever we wanted for up to $1500, but the "shipping/handling fees" were twice as much as the actual price of the items!

This timeshare business is the biggest scam I've ever seen. And now, we have people calling us to "broker" our week to others if we don't want to use it. Cost of brokering? $800 per year!

Again, consider yourself VERY lucky to have not been deemed "worthy" to enter the hallowed halls.

Benzel Shah said...

These are free and useful tips that you can use in buying and taking Hoodia Gordonii diet pillsproperly and correctly. Most weightloss pills and dietary supplements function by trying to raise the rate at which your body burns fat. It contains the powerful anti-oxidant EGCG. The company selling Hoodia Maxx does provide a toll-free customer service number, but encourages customers to enroll in the -free trial' offer which then turns into an autoship program.

Ronald Morrissette Jr. said...

Thank you for shedding light on the dark and perverse world of the North Star Lodge!

Samantha802 said...

I knew this phone call seems to good to be true. I Entered to win a $1000 gift card from Home Depot at a Vermont Home & Garden show and have been receiving calls re: winning a different prize ever since. I did finally pick up and speak to a woman today about "what I had qualified for". I confirmed it was not a prize nor would I have to claim it on my taxes because it's a form of payment in return for coming to a North Star Lodge meeting and tour. I told her I was going to have to think it over and discuss with my partner before letting her know. She is going to call me back in a day or two re: the package and I'm glad Google has found me lots of negative experiences re: this North Star Lodge scam. I'll be telling her, thanks...but no thanks.

Anonymous said...

I must say I echo the sentiment above except I will admit that about 10 years ago, my wife and I fell for the hard sell. They have since changed management and are the horrible, nasty, rude individuals. After paying the initial fee, our yearly maintainence fees have tripled. So now we are trying to get rid of it. And this thing that they tell you is so valuable literally cannot be given away. I am going to end up paying a company to get it off my hands.

So, as soon as the summer craft fair season kicks off, I am going to be on the public road just before North Star warning people to avoid the scam and actually giving anyone who has an appointment $20 dollars to turn around and go home. I've had enough of these predators. How they are allowed to operate, I have no idea.

Donald said...

I own a timeshare and we absolutely love it & most people I know who own share this sentiment. You don't show up late to work or dentist appointments but it's ok in this case. Get a life. Your Vibe is negative. Keep it to yourself.

Anonymous said...

But you didn't, did you. Use it and stop complaining

DROWNING said...

Love to unite with all those scammed and put in a complaint to Vermont BBB or Attorney General... we did "buy" in 2011 the timeshare just so that we could vacation elsewhere with RCI... our lives changed almost immediately afterward(we are unexpectedly raising 3 children) and we have paid annual RCI, maintenance fees and the cost of the unit plus $1,000 to a broker (last year) recommended by NorthStar to sell our time with no results. We have spent nearly $10,000 and never stayed there or anywhere in their network and we CAN NOT GET OUT. Has anyone any advice for us? We are desperate. I only wish they'd been rude to us that day!

Anonymous said...

I appreciate all the information as I received the same offer which they said the are associated with Herb Chambers Toyota. I just bought a car through Herb Chambers Toyota in Auburn. The woman assured me that I have already won one of the grand prizes. I have to say that I have read tons of scam info regarding North Star and very disappointed the Herb Chambers Toyota would be associated with this type of scam!! I feel completed taken as I listened to this woman on the phone. I do plan on going and if this is a scam, believe me when I tell you all will know!!

Anonymous said...

DOES anyone know how to get out of this time share. My parents were taken advantage of thinking they were getting some kind of deal and signed all the paperwork. They are still paying off the loan for the time share and have consulted a lawyer. They were told that it is not illegal and yes it was a bad decision. They are being charged multiple fee's and are threatened that they will be put into collections for not paying maintenance fees and their credit will be affected. No one wants to buy these timeshares and they can't find a way to get rid of ownership so they don't have to pay the maintenance fees every month. They are completely willing to just pay off the loan and count this as a very expensive mistake but how do they get rid of owning their one crappy week a year? Any help would be appreciated: libradynasty@yahoo.com - Title it North Star Timeshare Scam. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Stop whining and take a vacation