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.