A retired couple is seeking justice after claiming they were scammed into a time share deal over a year ago. Visitors Maureen and Stanley Stewart, recently sat down with this daily to share their unfortunate experience with a local time share.
Mrs. Stewart, a former medical clerk told this daily that she and her husband, a former steel worker who reside in Canada, first visited Grand Bahama in 2015, which was when, allegedly, they bought a timeshare at Ocean Reef Resort. Two years later in February 2017, the couple returned to the island, however, they could not utilize their time share because the resort was not open yet.
“RCI referred us to Island Seas. We were invited to a presentation, which we went to and we were given the option to purchase at Island Seas,” she maintained.
Mrs. Stewart claimed that she made it known to sales agents that they already owned a time share.
“The Sales Agent made it known to the General Manager, who was Brian Bannister and he came over to us and he let us know that that was not a problem, Island Seas could buy Ocean Reef off of us and the offer that would decrease the purchase,” she alleged.
According to Mrs. Stewart, Bannister offered them $3,000 for their Ocean Reef timeshare which would be deducted from the $17,000 price of the Island Seas timeshare they would purchase.
She expressed that Bannister also informed them they could complete this transaction without Ocean Reef’s input.
“I did ask do we have to notify Ocean Reef, he said, ‘no-no we will take care of all of that from this end,” she alleged.
The Stewarts maintained that they decided to buy the Island Seas time share, they signed paperwork to confirm the exchange and paid the $14,000 price in full.
“He (Bannister) had asked us to send the deed to Ocean Reef once we got back home, so we got back home and my daughter faxed it to him. In following up with him she asked him if it was sufficient and he said yes that was sufficient and to give a few weeks for the transaction to take place,” Mrs. Stewart claimed.
During the interview, she presented screen-shots of the emails between their daughter, Collette Dawson, and Bannister confirming this conversation.
Mrs. Stewart furthered that after a few months she thought they would have some confirmation from Ocean Reef regarding the transaction, but that did not happen. So, she called the Ocean Reef offices and inquired about the transaction.
“I decided to make a call. I made a call and spoke to somebody at their office and they said that they never had any information about that,” Mrs. Stewart maintained. “They had no details, nothing to that regard.”
Mrs. Stewart revealed that she asked the person if they were still owners at Ocean Reef and was told that they were.
The transaction, seemingly, had not gone through, but the Stewarts’ $14,000 was gone.
After hearing this news, the couple contacted Island Seas, which was when they found out that Bannister and the sales agent were no longer employed there.
“I personally called the Public Relations Department and stated what happened,” she said.
Mrs. Stewart maintained that they were asked to send a letter stating what happened with the transaction.
According to the couple, the letter was allegedly sent to Tammy Butler.
“It was confirmed that the letter was received and that she forwarded it to a Mr. Tawari Rodgers, who is the Sales Director at Island Seas. Then something like a Board would decide and then they would get back to us,” she said.
However, the Stewarts claim they still have not received any word about the situation from Island Seas’ Management.
“We’re following up and following up and each time we were told Mr. Tawari was either busy or he is not in the office,” she said.
Noting that this has been a constant battle of unreturned calls and uncertainty, Mrs. Stewart claimed that the last thing Butler told her was that management had not reached an agreement so there were no updates.
“Eventually she answered and asked us what did we want,” she said.
Mrs. Stewart stated that she and her husband want their money back, because the transaction was simply fraudulent. “We were lied to.”
She claimed that another lie they were told, was that within a five-year time frame if they did not wish to keep their time share at Island Seas, the resort would purchase it from them. However, they later found out that Island Seas does not have such a policy.
Mrs. Stewart admitted that she has looked into getting a lawyer to deal with the case but determined that it would be too expensive.
Since then the Stewarts have not been in contact with Bannister.
The Freeport News reached out to both Butler and Rodgers at Island Seas Resort; however, this daily was told that Butler is no longer employed at the resort.
But Rodgers did speak with this daily, revealing that the agreement made between the Stewarts and Bannister was verbal and the Island Seas’ standard contract the Stewarts signed does not cover verbal agreements.
According to Rodgers, the contract states that any verbal agreement is not recognized. Island Seas does not guarantee the resale of units and Island Seas does not participate in any rental or engage in any rental of a promotional or supplemental work.
As a result, Rodgers noted that there is not much that can be done in terms of compensating the Stewarts, other than a complimentary stay at the resort.
He also told this daily that he was on leave from Island Seas during the time this agreement was made and the contract was signed.
According to Rodgers, he had only learned of the incident and got involved earlier this year.
Rodgers expressed that although the situation is unfortunate, there is nothing much that he can do because of contractual stipulations.
He noted that it is sad that Island Seas and his own name is being defamed, because of the promises made by a misleading salesperson.
This daily was unable to contact Bannister up to print time.