Can Palladium Travel Club keep my $8,174?


Rowena Cruz buys a membership in Palladium’s travel club but almost immediately regrets the decision. Why won’t the company refund her $8,174?

Question: We recently stayed at the Grand Palladium Bavaro in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. While we were there, we were invited to attend a sales presentation for the Palladium Travel Club. We paid $8,174 as initial payment, which included a deposit and administrative fee, using our credit card for a 30-year package with 60 all-inclusive weeks.

My husband and I soon realized that the membership is not beneficial to us and that we can’t afford it. Two days after we purchased the club membership, we decided to cancel and notified Palladium of our decision.

About two weeks later, I received a call from the sales manager of Palladium Travel Club, advising that I can’t cancel my membership because there is no cancellation clause in the contract. I believe I have the legal right to cancel my membership and we want to exercise that right. Can you help me get a refund? — Rowena Cruz, Ontario, Canada

Answer: You have the right to cancel your contract — if not legally, than ethically. But before we get to that, let’s take a closer look at what happened to you while you were visiting the Dominican Republic. There you were, minding your own business on an all-inclusive vacation, and out of the blue someone invites you to a “brief” sales presentation.

That presentation for Palladium’s club took almost all day and, if its website is any indication, it was filled with lofty promises and hyperbole. How could you not want to sign up for something that offers “endless possibilities to change your way of traveling forever”?

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Palladium seems to gloss over the costs and it’s also vague on the benefits of its “club.” Sample question from its site: “How can I get the best out of my membership?” (Hmm, you might start by telling me how much it costs?)

Disclosure: I’m a travel club skeptic. As I wrote in my book, How To Be The World’s Smartest Traveler, there’s only one travel club I trust: AAA. From what I can tell, Palladium’s club is a curious combination of loyalty program, timeshare and all-inclusive. And I see no reason to change my opinion about travel clubs.

But let’s give Palladium the benefit of the doubt. Let’s assume this whole operation is on the up-and-up and that you had signed up in good faith. Should you be able to cancel your membership within a certain period of time? You believed your contract was governed by Mexico’s laws, which require a cooling off period. The Palladium representative to whom you spoke said there’s no such requirement because the contract is governed by Spanish law.

Frankly, I don’t care whose law applies, and neither should Palladium. It sold you the club membership in a high-pressure environment when your defenses were at their lowest, while you were on vacation, and it should immediately refund the money.

I list the names, numbers and emails of the Palladium Travel Club executives on my consumer advocacy site. A brief, polite email to one of them might have helped your cause.

I contacted Palladium on your behalf. Your cancellation is being processed.


Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org.

  • eBob

    I am not sure I even trust AAA anymore after they came out against raising speed limits here. Anyway, if I paid for the vacation, I would have politely declined to attend the sales presentation.

  • Grandma

    I would recommend a self-imposed cooling off for every costumers. Do not buy anything expensive item (flight tickets, hotel rooms included) without researching, thinking over the purchase at least for 48 hours.
    Never accept an invitation ‘out of blue’ for any presenttion. I assume there was some ‘free’ stuff offer for participants.

  • SirWIred

    Why would a Canadian visiting the Dominican Republic believe that their new, shiny, timeshare-ish contract would be governed by Mexican law? (I guess Palladium is based in Spain?, which is why the company thinks Spanish law applies; IANAL, so I have no idea about the nitty-gritty of forum selection. I would have thought that it would be governed by Dominican law, since that’s where the contract was executed.)

  • Daddydo

    You are good. I have seen so many time share contracts enforced with no refunds. We were sitting in a preferred section of a DELUXE hotel in D/R watching them filling drinks to soften up the clients, (they were mine). I kept reading the ole Kindle and waiting for money-time. When they had laid out their 3 different credit cards, Vic asked what I though of the deal. $28,000.00 plus 650.00 per year taxes and insurance. I stated in my nice quiet voice that I was so glad that they had wasted the reps time, it was fun to watch, PUT THOSE CARDS AWAY. Iberostar Grand does not love me any more,
    In answer to the question about good timeshare experiences; my friend the bubba, loves going fishing all over the US. He packs everything for a weeks stay, drives 10-15 hours, and has just a great week. I have never seen an international owner that was pleased after 2-3 trips.

  • El Dorado Hills

    Articles about time share purchases appear on a regular basis on this website. They are almost always about someone being “approached” while on a vacation with a promise of something free, and then fall prey to the smooth, slick sales presentation from some commissioned sales person whose only real concern is his/her commission. These normally take place in a foreign country.
    That said, I have belonged to Marriott Vacation Club’s program for over 15 years and am very happy with it. There customer service department if fantastic. We own multiple weeks and use all of them every year, When we entered the program it was not while on a vacation in some foreign place but our choice to go to a presentation after we heard about the program. Like most things in life, there is some good and some bad in almost everything, but with time shares it seems to most bad – but the good is out there.

  • Chris Johnson

    As soon as I saw the words “Travel Club” I knew that this was somebody looking to get a refund for a worthless membership. The only “travel club” I trust is AAA as well, and it doesn’t cost anywhere as much and offers other non-travel benefits. When I hear the words “travel club”, “vacation club” or timeshare, I run as fast as I can in the other direction. But I’m glad to hear that these people were able to get a refund. They narrowly dodged a bullet.

  • The Original Joe S

    We went to a “presentation” where they offered us the world, the moon and the stars. When we hemmed and hawed, they offered us a smaller deal, and left us “alone” in the room to discuss it.
    Since we’d seen “The Purple Heart” ( 1944 ), we knew that, like General Mitsubi, these toads were listening thru the speakerphone on the table. So, we played Mr. and Mrs. Jerkimov, by saying “Gee honey, that sounds great!” “Yes, but I think it’s more than we can afford!” They’d come back in and offer a smaller package. They eventually went from several hundred US buckos per month down to about $10 per month. Those scumbags would do ANYTHING to get us to fork over SOMETHING per month! They thought we were mucking forons, and that we were so stupid as not to realize they bugged the room. As stated above, we saw the MOVIE!
    We left there laughing, and maybe [ don’t remember ] with a worthless gift. Nice pleasant day trip out to the hills, and free lunch.

  • Michael__K

    Per Palladium’s website, they have 9 corporate offices across 5 continents, and none of those are in Spain (or Mexico or DR).
    According to an attorney on Avvo.com:

    Generally speaking, the choice of law provision in the contract that you signed will govern. If there is no choice of law provision in the contract, most likely the law where the timeshare is located will govern, rather than where the contract was signed or where the company was established.
    https://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/does-the–cooling-off–period-apply-based-on-where-2226220.html

  • pauletteb

    What do speed limits have to do with this issue?

  • pauletteb

    My friend has a time share right on Misquamicut Beach in Rhode Island, which they use every year, but they’ve never tried to trade their week for another location. Me? If the freebie is good enough, I’ll give up a couple hours, but no more.

  • Annie M

    I am sure no timeshare sales rep. ever said to someone who contacted them the next day to complete a sale “nope, it’s too late”. I still cannot believe people fall into these traps.

  • Robin

    Speed limits have nothing to do with the issue. Neither does AAA, really. But since AAA was mentioned in the article, eBob’s reply wasn’t completely out of left field as far as I could see.

  • Harvey-6-3.5

    Even AAA has tradeoffs because many new cars come with free towing. Since I have older cars, this year’s AAA dues probably are a wash/net benefit for me, based on needing to have a tow and savings at hotels and other attractions.

  • kanehi

    We went to a timeshare presentation years ago in Maui. It was free airfare and one hotel room free for a day with meals included. The presentation was presented and decided to sign up. I’m very cautious and read the contract very carefully. I always look for the “buyers remorse” clause in case we change our mind. After we got home we discussed the payments. Found out later that on top of the monthly payment we had to pay “maintenance fee” for the condo which wasn’t mentioned during the presentation. With the fees, monthly payments and you can only stay for two weeks every year with no guarantee of the dates we rescinded the contract after two days. This is when we decided to buy a house instead.

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