“Las Palmas Travel Network” may be a new scam tied to what’s going on at Coco Sunset Vacation Club (aka Bahia Turquesas)
It appears that “Las Palmas Travel Network” (LPTN) may be a new scam connected to what’s going on at Coco Sunset Vacation Club (aka Bahia Turquesas).
Coco Sunset Vacation Club (aka Bahia Turquesas) in Costa Rica seems to be somehow related to “Las Palmas Travel Network” (LPTN). Here’s my experience, as well as the things I’ve learned about them over the past three days (August 17, 2013). You can decide for yourself if this appears to be a scam.
Here’s what happened:
My wife and I were initially reeled in by “Jock”, a lively Scotsman who’s turf is Playa Hermosa near the Condovac (a timeshare resort affiliated with RCI). We were turned over to “Matt” who qualified us over breakfast at the Café de la Playa (http://www.cafedeplaya.com/suites.html) in the town of Cocos. Matt took us up to the shark tank where we met sequentially with three other closers, who came at us with ever-decreasing packages for us to buy. We left (without buying), and were taken to the El Pueblito commercial center in Cocos where several timeshare companies have their offices (you’ll recognize the names: Coco Vacation Club, Bahia Turquesas (the new name for Coco Vacation Club as of March 2013), Miramar, and others). We thought we were done for the day and just needed to sign out at the Coco Adventures Travel Agency (which seems to be owned by Bahia Turquesas), but Matt handed us off to “Blake Lindsey”, who said he was with “Las Palmas Travel Network” (LPTN), and who had a “program” he wanted us to look at.
Here’s where the story gets interesting. The sound *** is that “Las Palmas Travel Network” doesn’t seem to exist, and there’s no way to reach them once you’re back home.
The LPTN “program” has two aspects: (1) It reimburses current timeshare owners for their Maintenance Fees (sounds too good to be true, right?). It refers to this as “Cash Exchange”. (2) It also has other travel booking benefits (some sound remarkably similar to RCI’s), as well as “guaranteed rates” for 1 BDR and 2BDRs at hotels and timeshare locations around the world, including Leading Hotels of the World. Example: 2 BDR at the Crillon in Paris for $545 for a week. Again, those room rates sound too good to be true.
Blake offered us membership in this program for $2,299, plus $249 annually (waived the first year). It looks like a no brainer, because it doesn’t take long before you break even on the maintenance fees that they reimburse you for. Six weeks after you sign up LPTN sends you a Welcome Package, which has details on how to get your MFs reimbursed, and how to book the travel deals.
Lured by the idea of getting our MF’s reimbursed we let Blake charge our Visa card. He gave us a flimsy looking contract (saying that’s all there is), and we left with mixed feelings. Then went online to do a little due diligence.
After doing some research, here’s what I’ve learned about LPTN:
Las Palmas Travel Network is invisible – and may not be real at all.
The green flier he showed us states that Las Palmas Travel Network been in business since 1993. But if you search for the company on Google you will find nothing. It’s my opinion that LPTN is a new scam.
According to the contract, LPTN’s website domain name is www.thelaspalmastravelnetwork.com. This domain name was purchased just 3 weeks ago, on July 9th, 2013, and only for a one year period. (Go to www.godaddy.com for details). There’s no website. It seems to me that an established ten year old company should have a website, especially in an industry that is short on credibility and trust.
Oddly, there is a website at: http://www.laspalmastravelnetwork.com/home/. But that’s not the url on the contract. And it’s a very skinny site, with almost no info on it.
Las Palmas Travel Network is unreachable.
It’s not possible to contact LPTN when you are back home in the States. So there is nothing you can do if your Welcome Package does not arrive.
Can’t reach by phone: The phone number on the contract is in Costa Rica: 506-2670 0357. You can never get through to this number – I tried eight times, at different times of day, over a three day period. There’s an outgoing message – in Spanish only – and unless you know the extension of the person you are calling, you cannot leave a message. Blake does not have an extension number. Why would a company that services Americans not have an outgoing message in English? And why can you never get through to a real person? Blake insisted you can get through, but you can’t.
Incidentally, this 506-2670 0357 is the exact same phone number that’s shown on www.Ripoffreport.com – for “Las Palmas VC Coco Sunset Vacation Club” (April 2013). http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Las-Palmas-VC/Playa-Del-Coco-Select-StateProvince-/Las-Palmas-VC-Coco-Sunset-Vacation-Club-I-was-not-shown-the-whole-contract-and-now-they-wi-1046671
Can’t reach by email: There’s an LPTN email address on the contract. But when I sent an email it bounced back. Here’s the error message: Sorry, we were unable to deliver your message to the following address.
Blake Lindsay did not provide his business card with contact info, nor did he have letterhead in his office. When pressed for the addresses of the Call Center and the company’s HQ in the USA, I was given two handwritten addresses from a torn off yellow legal pad. The addresses seem to be bogus:
It turns out that 804 Pine Avenue, Carlsbad, CA 92008 is a house in a residential district. 7690 West Cheyenne, Las Vegas, NV is the office of HSI (Holiday Systems International). LPTN does not have a business relationship with HSI and is not listed at that address.
Blake’s office is in the El Pueblito shopping center – a small room immediately adjoining the “Coco Adventures” travel agency, which is where they finally sign you out after your timeshare presentation. Blake did not volunteer this but you might be able to get to him (and to Coco Sunset Vacation Club aka Bahia Turquesas and “Las Palmas Travel Network” through the travel agency. Here’s their email and website: email@example.com, and http://bahiaturquesaresidences.com/cocoadventures.html.
Not affiliated with Carnival.
Blake said that LPTN was “a part of” Carnival Cruise Lines. The term “part of” suggests that it’s a subsidiary. But according to Hoovers it’s not. When I called Carnival’s Trade engagement department (on 800-327-7276) they said they have no ownership of or affiliation with LPTN. In fact they had not heard of it.
Unclear business relationship between LPTN and RCI – if any
I went online to see if the credit card purchase had posted. It had. The vendor name was Las Palmas VC. But the confusing thing is that the phone number associated with it is 619-683-7440. That number belongs to RCI – not LPTN. So, I wonder – did I purchase something from LPTN – or from RCI? Why is LPTN using RCI as its credit card vendor?
The benefits listed on the contract are RCI benefits. The only difference is the “World Famous Cash Exchange Program”.
The “World Famous Cash Exchange Program” sounds too good to be true
If LPTN has been around for 10 years, and since timeshare owners are desperately looking for a way to not have to pay Maintenance Fees on timeshares they can’t use, how can it be that this truly incredible program is not known, or publicized – and why the black box?
Who is Blake Lindsey?
Just for fun take a look at Blake Lindsey’s profile on LinkedIn: cr.linkedin.com/pub/blake-lindsey/52/ab/309. None of this inspires confidence.
There are several forums discussing what’s going on at Coco Sunset Vacation Club (aka Bahia Turquesas). I don’t know, but it appears that LPTN is a new scam.
So where are we?
Can someone please post a reply so we all know the status? Thank you, all.