Last summer, I received a phone call from Sunshine Travel informing me I had won a free on-line shopping spree and a gas card from my entry into a car giveaway. I just needed to attend a sales presentation at their Dublin, OH office.
I attended and was ushered into a room with a sales rep who went into an hour long pitch about their program. After commenting that it was too expensive, the rep brought her boss into the room to "see what he can do". Typical sales pressure.
Magically, the price and interest rates dropped dramatically. By this time, approximately an hour and a half into a "hour" presentation, the package seemed more attractive and reasonably priced.
Sunshine/TAN boasted about units all over the United States, even Hawaii in addition to the Caribbean and Mexico. Wow. Not bad. If only I had taken my calculator to add up all the "extras".
In addition to the base price,which alone was reasonable (averaging about $327 per week), you also pay a yearly "service charge" of $329, whether or not you book a vacation that year. Then of course there is a $99 booking fee. And don't forget, the base price is only for 1 bedroom or studio units in the OFF season, which is very limited. So, if you want to go in "Prime Season" which is about 9-10 months of the year at most places, you must add another $210 for prime rates. Should you want to take some friends or family and need a second bedroom, don't forget to add another $210 for the extra room.
As you can see, the once reasonable rate now becomes quite costly. Yet, if the units offered were all up to par, it still wouldn't be so bad, but definitely not a bargin. From the pictures on line, some units look quite shabby and unfortunately, with many units you must bring your own bed linens, paper products, towels etc. Now, it's a downright sham.
Oh and "all over the United States" includes only about 20 states and in some of those, there may only be one unit in the whole state. And, don't plan on taking Rover, none of their properties accept our 4 legged family members.
I did get my $15 gas card and my $250 shopping spree on line, which was laughable. Most items were very old and overpriced. I ended up getting books and videos and donating them to a local nursing home. Plus, they even threw in a "buy one get one free" airline ticket offer. I was happy with this as I already had a trip to Hawaii planned and it would save $600 or so in airfare. After about 6 calls over 4 months to Spirit Incentives (a Sunshine/TAN partner who was offering the airline incentive), I was told I couldn't use the coupon because the available flights didn't meet their conditions. I would have to wait to see if the flights changed enough to meet their requirments, which in my estimation, would NEVER happen. In the meantime, the cost of the flights on-line increased by about $200 so I got hosed again.
Yes, this is my fault for not reading everything thoroughly enough and for not taking my brain and my calculator with me. I'm stuck. And, from everything I've read since, this company is unknown and who knows if it will be around for me to use my 33 weeks of vacation.
My goal here is to give warning to others...beware. It's not really a deal. Save yourself the time and trouble, book through an agent or do it yourself on line using AAA. You will do better for yourself and have much less hassle.
Review about: Vacation Package.