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Tuesday, December 8

Beware of Club Astoria Agents  

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When I go malling at SM Megamall, I dare not walk the corridors of 5th floor Bldg. A. It's because I don't want to pass by the area of Family First. They have agents there who lure the unaware to sign up for a "raffle" and go to their office for a "seminar". Club Astoria agents employ the same scheming tactic.

My aunt-in-law and wedding godmother was tricked into signing up for a Club Astoria timeshare membership program. She and my mother-in-law attended a "buffet dinner" cum seminar in Naga City where they were told about the perks of having a Club Astoria membership. My Tita Ops is a retiree, you see. She can travel anytime she wants to. So she thought that having a timeshare program with a hotel would be a wise investment.

So, after the dinner, the details of the timeshare program was explained to them. She was enticed by their tricky agents and became interested in signing up for a 30-year membership. However, she wasn't that decided yet as she was just interested in knowing more about the program.

After being explained to, one of the agents asked for her credit card and told her that they will just check on her credit status. She vehemently instructed them not to charge anything to her card but the Club Astoria people immediately charged 65 thousand pesos to her credit card. My tita's fault was that she signed the receipt. While we were talking to each other on the phone the following day after the incident, she related how she felt like being hypnotized by the agents. It was like "Budol-Budol" so she said. Thank goodness that her credit limit is worth 65 thousand pesos only or else these monsters could have charged the whole 100 thousand peso deposit on her card. My Tita is a senior citizen and is single. She was made confused by the agents who kept on talking non-stop.

The following day, when she called us up, we instructed her to go to her bank and change her credit card number. She also cancelled the contract she apparently signed. The bad news is, Club Astoria will only refund 45 thousand pesos and keep the 20 thousand peso "reservation fee". My tita's charging it to experience. Damn these scheming demons for taking advantage of an old innocent lady. That's part of her hard-earned retirement money so I bet they'll go to hell.

I have nothing negative about time share programs. My mom is a member of Pearl of the Pacific in Boracay and we have been using our privileges ever since. It's like staying in myrtle beach condos except that Pearl of the Pacific Boracay is not a condo. In fairness, Club Astoria is a legal business. The hotel is located in Ortigas, Pasig, and they have resorts in Boracay, Bohol, and Subic. I see nothing ugly about their accommodations and rates. What bugs me, on the other hand, is the manner of recruiting these Club Astoria agents are using. Try Googling "club astoria scam" and you'll see what I mean. So beware people, don't tell me I didn't warn you.



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27 sweet comments: to “ Beware of Club Astoria Agents

  • aBIGwhale
    10:49 AM, December 08, 2009  

    i talked to one "pleasant" lady in SM who was giving away prizes that time.. she told me she just needed to reach her quota..

    so i agreed and went with her to their office.. and i specifically told her.. I will not be spoken to by another person. No talks.. If its a raffle then draw lots..

    no sit down meetings.. she said yes yes yes..

    but left me in the office.. and when i was called by some guy so we could discuss their club.. I said flat out

    "Sorry, I specifically said.. NO SIT DOWN TALKS.. I really don't care about the raffle anymore.."

    Stood up and left. He tried to stop me so he could talk to me.. But I just left..

  • Mauie Flores
    11:39 AM, December 08, 2009  

    Good for you Abby. My Tita was overwhelmed kasi eh.

  • pinay_76
    3:01 PM, December 08, 2009  

    yes, i was once a victim in boracay by inviting us for a free buffet lunch and just listen to what they have to say but no commitment .. but then when we said that we will think about it and will just call them .. they keep pressuring us to avail that very same day because promo is only upto that date .... thats when my husband angrily retorted to stop pressuring us or we will create a scene! hehe!

  • Mauie Flores
    3:09 PM, December 08, 2009  

    @pinay_76

    I'm glad that your husband did that. Up to now, I'm still wishing that I was there with my Tita when that happened. I could have made a scene, too. This is now all I can do to help.

  • Anonymous
    8:45 PM, March 20, 2010  

    I just came by your blog, I googled Club Astoria after a bad experience with their agents. What I hate is the way they got us to attend their presentation. I was misled, while filling up on gas at a Shell station, into filling out a raffle stub which I thought was from Shell, grand prize was a trip to Australia. After that we were told we won the complimentary "VIP dinner", that was how we were lured into the presentation.I don't even know if there really is a raffle or a winner for the trip to Australia. To me it seems like just a way of getting our information without our consent because I thought I was giving it to Shell and to Shell only, not to Club Astoria. To anyone from Shell out there, do you endorse this 'Raffle' by this company? because this is how they made it appear to us.

  • Anonymous
    10:29 PM, August 08, 2010  

    Same thing happened to us, we refunded the money after 3 days of joining, and guess what..no refund! easy money highway robbery! they use the strategy of time pressure,, they'll say that the offer is only good for today, so that you'll have no time of researching and knowing if their company has good reputation, and when you get home you'll ask your friends about it, search the internet about the company and BOOM you've been SCAMMED!!! bye bye hard earned money! I hope someone from press or media will help us out victims and reveal this scam to everyone. HOPE PEOPLE FROM Club ASTORIA STILL HAVE THEIR CONSCIENCE, its just money,the root of all evil!

  • Santelmo
    5:45 PM, December 12, 2010  

    thank you for your (and other blog) post. my parents were on their way to Asoria in Pasig. I'm glad I was able to text them some of the bad things about Club Astoria scheme.

  • ♥peachkins♥
    6:19 PM, December 12, 2010  

    Hay naku, may "psychological effect" talaga pag nandun ka. Thye can make you feel guilty/overwhelmed into taking the membership.


    It happened to me din: http://www.peachandthings.com/2010/09/club-astoria-holiday-ownershipscam-or.html

  • Mommy Lace
    10:08 PM, December 12, 2010  

    I wonder why SM malls are not doing anything about this?

    Many have written about how they were scammed, actually it makes any place look cheap whenever agents follow you around asking if you have a credit card.

    I always see people being lured and can only shake my head in disappointment.

    I think some of these scams have been featured on TV but why are they still here?

  • skysenshi
    9:26 PM, December 13, 2010  

    Nearly had the same experience in Boracay. Two hours after the dinner, the agent was still talking. And we kept saying no. Grabe sa kulit.

  • Cher Cabula
    11:34 AM, December 14, 2010  

    I'm really glad I read this. I've been approached before but I've always been wary. I had the sense that it was a scam but no means of proving it. Thankfully now that I saw this, I can spread the word.

  • skysenshi
    8:06 PM, February 24, 2011  

    Nearly had the same experience in Boracay. Two hours after the dinner, the agent was still talking. And we kept saying no. Grabe sa kulit.

  • Mommy Lace
    8:06 PM, February 24, 2011  

    I wonder why SM malls are not doing anything about this?

    Many have written about how they were scammed, actually it makes any place look cheap whenever agents follow you around asking if you have a credit card.

    I always see people being lured and can only shake my head in disappointment.

    I think some of these scams have been featured on TV but why are they still here?

  • ♥peachkins♥
    8:06 PM, February 24, 2011  

    Hay naku, may "psychological effect" talaga pag nandun ka. Thye can make you feel guilty/overwhelmed into taking the membership.


    It happened to me din: http://www.peachandthings.com/2010/09/club-astoria-holiday-ownershipscam-or.html

  • Mauie Flores
    8:06 PM, February 24, 2011  

    @pinay_76

    I'm glad that your husband did that. Up to now, I'm still wishing that I was there with my Tita when that happened. I could have made a scene, too. This is now all I can do to help.

  • Santelmo
    8:06 PM, February 24, 2011  

    thank you for your (and other blog) post. my parents were on their way to Asoria in Pasig. I'm glad I was able to text them some of the bad things about Club Astoria scheme.

  • gigi
    8:12 AM, September 15, 2011  

    they're in a naga city again, we were invited to a lunch last Sunday, very attractive offer but a  real suspicious scheme, so long boring presentation, so disappointed of our kababayan (cam sur born/residents) who are working for the club astoria,  

  • Mauie Flores
    8:52 AM, September 15, 2011  

    Oh no :( I guess a lot of people here in Manila are already aware of their modus. Dami na yata mayaman sa Naga ngayon kaya they went back. Hay!

  • Kat
    11:22 AM, September 15, 2011  

    My thoughts exactly Lace :(  We've been invited to claim a free 3d/2n accommodation before that they told us we won, but little did we know that it too was a prelude to a seminar/recruitment thing.  Good thing we don't have any CC or checks with us.

  • gigi
    10:32 PM, September 19, 2011  

    thanks for your blog site, yes you're right they thought we are because we have a car filled at a shell station, we are not rich, both working and trying to live decently,  vacations are not much of a priority due to tight schedule and finances, using gift certificate by next year was a good idea, but i read a lot  about them, am so scared, forget it! i should have read about Astoria earlier so i can do something

  • scammed too
    11:58 AM, October 13, 2011  

    OMG! My husband and I just got scammed by Club Astoria as well! We were at Boracay and we were invited to a buffet dinner and said they're just promoting their hotel. Then before dinner, they made us sign a form saying we agree to attend their 90 minute seminar which turned out to be 3 hours! Anyway, still we were enticed with the idea and decided to purchase their Holiday Ownership. Membership for studio type alternate share (meaning we get a 1 week vacation every 2 years for a total of 15 weeks for the next 30 years) is P182,000 plus total annual maintenance fee for 29 years P116,000. After P18,200 down payment was made, we were suddenly shocked to find out there's hidden charge of around P147,000 total RCI annual membership fee for 28 years! That doesn't even include the P3,000 booking fee, P6580 local exchange fee, and P13580 international exchange fee everytime you avail of the vacation. We immediately informed Astoria we want to cancel the membership with full refund but they wouldn't give us any refund. They said that as a consumer, it was our responsibility to be fully informed about the product we're buying before we sign the contract. Sob!

  • Mauie Flores
    10:11 PM, October 15, 2011  

    Oh my, that's so sad. Hmmm, why did they not give you a full refund like what they did with my aunt's account? I think they can't do that. Did this just happen recently?

  • Morgantan88
    2:10 PM, October 19, 2011  

    I attended their presentation last night after a simple dinner in CitiSports Club (Ayala owned) in Cebu. To be fair to Club Astoria promoters, I have to say it does not sound a scam. But their marketing technique is lousy, they should not entice the public with "winning raffle" for dinners (which they did not do so in my case) and with free holiday (which they gave me a certificate to enjoy free 3days/2nights accommodation in their resort in Palawan or free 5days/4nights accommodation in Orlando, USA).
    Invitation to free dinners is OK but they should have publicize their product (selling time sharing holiday ownership) in advance, so those who will attend will know beforehand what to expect. Their concept appears good, provided they and their partners (Resorts Condominiums International) will stay in business for the next thirty years (which is the validity of the timesharing ownership Club Astoria is selling). I did not purchase what they are selling for the following reasons - 1) Despite their hard-selling and good presentation after the dinner, I was  unprepared and not ready to buy as I was not aware beforehand they are selling time sharing holiday ownership (meaning: 7nights/8days within each year X 30 years), which needs a cash layout (before a 40% cash discount) of P182,000.00 (for a studio apartment), or P552,500.00 for a 1-bedroom apartment or P772,500.00 for a 2-bedrooms apartment. They also offered installment plan payments. But it is not a decision I can and will make instantly. I need a little more time to do some research and to think. 2) Lack of written information on the promotors - who are the directors / shareholders of the company (Club Astoria)?. During the meeting, they said the directors / owners / promotors are also the same as the Cathay Group in Manila (Cathay Hardware, etc, etc). But there is no leaflets / brochures available about their setup / structure / products / extent of their program benefits. This means I have nothing in hand to determine who they really are and what they are offering. Therefore as of this moment, I am undecided.

  • Ajine Ponce
    9:46 PM, March 02, 2012  

    Hi there. I'd like to thank you for this very important blog post because without this one, I might have been scammed just hours ago.

    My boyfriend and I are avid customers of Shell and it all started with a raffle ticket bearing a huge WIN A FREE TRIP TO SINGAPORE all over it. Of course, being travel-junkies ourselves, we wanted to take the opportunity to fill this up and who knows, we might (or might not) win by a long shot. Being considered as the 'Raffle Queen' by my family and friends, my bf decided that I should fill up the raffle ticket. I was looking up at the answer boxes one by one and I suddenly became a bit hesitant when I saw that it was asking what my monthly salary was. There were choices there and none of them contained my answer. All of the salary choices, as I have noticed, belonged to upper A-class citizens to upper B. That drove me a bit curious but decided to fill it up anyway by selecting the lowest salary there was in the option. Besides, I wasn't expecting to win anyway.

    A day later, someone from Astoria called me up and told me that I was one of the 16 contestants chosen for a dinner-buffet at Astoria Plaza Hotel in Ortigas and that I have a GC waiting for me, a choice between having to stay at a local Astoria Hotel (in Bohol) or at an international one (either in Bali or Bangkok). Accommodations are free of course since it's theirs, but food and travel expenditures aren't. The catch was tempting: free accommodations + dinner on a Friday night to boot! But the lady on the phone kept repeating over and over again that everything was a part of this whole promotion thing for Astoria. Also she mentioned if I could set aside 90-minutes of my time for a small presentation. Presentation? What presentation? Since I've been working in the publishing industry for years, I've thought it over that maybe they just arranged a tour for us of their whole hotel, just to view what their facilities are, etc. So I said my thanks to the rep and said "Sure! I'll be there"

    I shared the good news to my dad and my bf's mom but their reactions were pretty much the same. They kept blabbing about "Oh no. It's another scam. It's that timeshare scam." I was so mesmerized with the whole concept of free food and free lodging, I told them "It can't be that bad I mean, it's a contest and out of (who knows) hundreds or thousands, they picked me." But they still warned me "Of course! It's a trap to lure you in!"

    But I decided to Google about it and then your post came up and I started to read everything. Thank God! Someone like you, and others as well, have the sense of informing the public about this! I also read the comments to this blog and I was thinking "I could have been ripped off or something, I should be saving money for my future." 

    Just minutes ago, another rep from Astoria just called up and asked me where I was and I just told them "Naaaah sorry, something came up... Since it's my prize, can I move it to another date?" Oh my goodness the rep suddenly answered without even thinking about it "What came up? Why aren't you going to be able to come here? Tell me why?" He was asking too much. I just answered "That information is private... Something came up... Can I get my prize on another date?" Then the rep answered back, "You can't. You arranged a meeting with us and you aren't even coming because 'something just came up'. *sighs* Sayang naman ma'am." And then suddenly hangs up on me. The nerve. Oh well. My boyfriend and I ended up eating at home and had a good laugh about it instead.