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Club ULTIMA, your ULTIMAte Scam?

While on our way to Phnom Penh, I got a call from an unknown number last June 6. At first I was hesitant to answer the call since we were traveling inside a bus, the reception might not be good, and because I didn’t know who was calling. Who could be bugging me after I’ve let everyone know that we are abroad? But then I thought it could be my mother calling about a very important matter. I had to pick-up the phone.

A man answered and introduced himself as a certain Denver Marquez, employee of Crown Regency and Club Ultima, congratulating me for winning a gift certificate from Crown Regency inclusive of a 4D/3N stay in any of their Cebu or Davao or Malaysia branches along with free passes to their Sky Adventure Experience. When I asked him from where did he get my information or how did I win the GC (I do not recall joining any contests) he said I was referred by someone. I thought it was one of my blogger friends so I did not bother asking more questions.

MissBackpacker | Where Have You Been Lately?

He explained that I just need to drop by their office and claim the GC. I won’t be paying for anything in exchange of promotion or referral of Crown Regency. I told him that this needed to wait since I was out of the country and won’t be back until the next two weeks. He said that he’d just text me his contact details, their address in Makati, and other information about the GC. And yes I did receive his text messages.

A few days passed, while still in the middle of my vacation, I was bombarded with several missed calls from another unknown number. When I got the chance to finally answer the call, a woman by the name of Minnie (I forgot her last name) introduced herself asking me when am I claiming the GC. I told her that I was still abroad and that I’d be back home in the next couple of days. She reminded me that the GC is valid within three months only and so I had to pick it up before it expires. I said okay.

MissBackpacker | Where Have You Been Lately?

Now that I am home, I reviewed the text message that I got from Denver Marquez and got excited of the thought of free Crown Regency staycation. I was thinking of Cebu since I’ve only been there once and just inside their airport. I texted the number registered on my phone. And there goes another call.

This time, it’s an Ynah Laurel. She basically asked for the same info: my name, occupation, company name, how long have I been with my employer, my spouse’s name and his employment details as well. Having trusted the caller, I gave all the information she asked for.

After all the Q & A session, she told me that I need to claim the GC either tonight or today. I asked her if it can be moved to a later date since we need to be at work in Libis, Quezon City before 9PM. She said no. I gave my confirmation of a meeting the next day.

After the convo and being the OC that I am, I Google-d Club Ultima and had a shocking realization. I found dozens of blog posts about their experiences with Club Ultima. Here are some of them:

Apparently, their selling tactic is to inform you that you won Crown Regency accommodation and that you need to claim it in their Makati office. Once you’re there, you’ll be forced to listen to a 90-minute presentation else you won’t get your GC. Once the presentation is done, you now need to pay Php 5000 ($115) or more as membership fee to finally get your GC. In some cases, the other victims who paid can’t even use the GC up until now.

MissBackpacker | Where Have You Been Lately?

I am sharing this entry not to discourage anyone of availing membership from Club Ultima but to warn you guys to be vigilant and not to fall victims to a situation where you have no choice but to shell out your hard-earned money.

Please take note of the numbers and other details they used in contacting me:

Contact Person:
Denver Marquez – 09176452731 / 9047781 / 9047788 / 5009440
Ynah Laurel – 09166679274 / 5090165 / 3468724
Minnie – 09279227505

Address:
Le Metropole Building
G/F Unit 102
Sen. Gil Puyat Ave.
corner Tordesillas St.
Makati City

Lesson learned? When things are just too good to be true, be in doubt. It could be an ULTIMAte scam.

UPDATE: I’ve recently received three comments, two coming from a certain Shane and the other from a Cecile Aure. Shane, a former consultant of Club Ultima defends the company as being legit while Cecile Aure claims that she’s a member of the said timesharing company. All comments are certainly welcome here. What I don’t understand is why you have to use two different personas when you only have one IP address.
Club Ultima
Click to enlarge image.
  • WHOA!!! ngayon ko lang nalaman ‘to ah. nakakatakot ha!
    Mabuti na lang at may shift ka nung time na yun Kaiz!

    Silent holdaper lang ang eksena! tsk! ヅ

    • MissBackpacker

      Tomo. May nabasa pa ako isang blog, parang mahi-hypnotized ka raw sa galing nila mag-present eh. Haaaay.

  • thanks for sharing Kaiz! this will indeed serve as a warning.

    • MissBackpacker

      Indeed!

  • Hi miss backpacker,

    After reading this post, naalala ko yung moment na tinawagan ako nang Puerto del Sol, Pangasinan, Sinabi din nila na nanalo ako nang GC, then my presentation ek ek sa office nila in Mandaluyong, then nakalagay dun sa terms and conditions na i need to spend 5,000 pesos sa mga facilities nila (bar, resto, etc). hayyy

    • MissBackpacker

      Hello Kevin. Buti di ka pumatol sa sweet talks nila.

      • They said na nakuha nila yung info’s ko in a travel expo i attanded, siguro Philtravevel Mart yata yun. so para sakin much better na na wag mag sign up dun sa parang attendance sheet nila, para iwas abala na din sa future. 🙂

        • Grabe, meron palang mga ganito? Thanks for the fair warning Kaiz! And for all the details. We will be careful about these scams in the future.

          • MissBackpacker

            Oo nga eh. Things that are too good to be true may be, in reality, false. Ano raw? haha! See you on the road!

  • I am thankful na nabasa ko to. Uung mom ko tinawagan din ng certain Joey or was it denver? This guy called my mom telling her she and dad won a 3days/2nights stay in any Crown Regency sa pinas. so since Davao mas malapit samin sabi nya dun lng daw kunin ung GC. wwow. thanks sa warning! had to forward this to dad.

    • MissBackpacker

      Hello. Glad to know I helped. Keep safe!

  • good thing nag-dalawang isip ako. kahapon lang ako nagpunta. grabe….

    • MissBackpacker

      I’ve read your post. Don’t worry, you outsmarted them, nakuha mo yung GC eh. Sana magamit mo. 🙂

      • al

        paano kaya mag-unjoin?

        • MissBackpacker

          Hi Al. I’ve read from one blog site that you can’t cancel your membership, you need someone to fill-in your spot.

          • Kian

            My father signed me up a membership last March 2012 however the next month his financial status had crushed and asked me to send out an email to request to just hold the payment.
            So by May 2012 we finally made up our minds to cancel said membership and they even discussed about the refund of our downpayment for 20k+ in cold cash.

            In our surprise no refund was provided for the reason that we did not inform them about our intention to cancel the membership, they said that in order to avail for the refund, a member should cancel his/her membership within the first 30 days. Actually, they are correct because the information is really on the T&C, but the sad thing is that they did not include or even mention this info during the presentation. WHAT A SCAM!!!!

          • MissBackpacker

            Hi Kian! Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope justice be served for those that fell victim to Club Ultima’s dirty marketing.

  • al

    Naku paano na ito naka-pag join na ako?
    Could someone help me on this…..

    • Kian

      file the cancellation immediately.. before it is too late… asa ka mangita ug company nga kelangan paka mu request pa pullout sa cheques even if naa naka gi file nga cancellation.. coz if cancellation ra imu ifile ky continuous japon ang charges/payments nmu..

      wtf!! what kind of system is that??

      • Jun

        Hi everyone, late ko na nabasa itong reviews about club ultima. nakapag attend ako ng presentation nila at tama kayo ang galing nila magconvince na pumirma ka. in short they were able to convinced me to sign the reservation form and paid 10k (as initial payment/reservation fee ). after a while nakapagisip ako bakit ba pumirma ako at bumili ng membership when in fact i dont need that anyway. so i called the guy who assisted me asking for a refund. eh sagot sa akin hindi na daw pede, so im asking for your opinion guys kong ano dapat kong gawin. Thanks!

        • MissBackpacker

          Hi Jun! From the responses above, I don’t think you’ll be able to refund your money. 🙁 The only thing that I can think of is bring this matter to DTI’s attention.

  • marvin casimiro

    i got the same offer. here’s the detail:
    a blessed day! this is ms angela lim the reservation manager of clubultima crown regency. i would like to remind the claiming of your gift certificate tomorrow aug.4, 2012 at saturday around 1pm-330pm at ground floor of metropole bldg makati. from this cell. no. 09228825709.

    pls be aware not to be a victim of this scam!! thanks for this post!

    • MissBackpacker

      Hi Marvin!

      My story didn’t actually end there. I still got several annoying calls and text from Club Ultima even after I said that I am no longer interested with whatever freebie they’d give me, including from this Angela Lim. There was a point that I even became rude to one of the callers.

  • dee

    i am a recent victim. by recent, i meant just 4 hours ago. 🙁 i left their office in makati feeling light-headed from what i just did. now, after reading all posts and blogs, i feel like crying! 🙁 i don’t think i can sleep soundly tonight. i am usually very wary of “freebies” like this, i still was up to the minute the membership fee was finally presented to me. but somehow the idea of spending less on vacations won the best of me and so i gave in. not the lifetime though, just the trial package of 8yrs worth 100k plus 7k + for the maintenance fee. one reason that made me decide was i already have airline tickets to cebu and singapore for next year (from the piso fare of cebu pacific) and since it was one of the hotels mentioned, it, sad to say, piqued my interest. i honestly did not know anything about club ultima, especially since the one i talked to only said crown regency hotel and i have a not-so-free gc (since i have to pay only 3k upon hotel booking, which i thought is still ok for a 3d2n stay). is this really a scam? why is it still in operations up to now? aren’t there any members who can vouch for this and say it’s legit and worth it? 🙁

  • dee

    i am a recent victim. by recent, i meant just last night. 🙁 i felt light-headed after leaving their office in makati, not sure of what i just did. i am usually very wary of things like this, i was still up to the moment that they finally presented me with the membership fee. i didn’t get the lifetime though, just the 8years “trial pack” worth 100k plus 7k for the maintenance fee (which i think doesn’t make it any better). one of the reason that i gave in was because i already have airline tickets to cebu and singapore for next year (from the piso fare promo of cebu pacific) and i thought this was a great deal. even the not-so-free gc for cebu or davao that you still need to shell out 3k sounded fine (considering it is for a 3D 2N stay). i feel so bad now. i never did any research before going there, and i never heard of club ultima because all the caller mentioned was they are from crown regency. if this is a scam, why are still doing operations like this? won’t a club ultima member vouch for this and say this is legit and worth it?

  • jcks of alltraid, very sweet nila makipag usap sayo bulahin ka sa todo ngayon sana ang sched ko for the presentation and claiming of GC. thanks for sa lahat ng post di pa ako nka alis papunta sa opis nla, actually interested ako but my husband advise me its only a scam but i did believe it, imagine free accomadation within 3 days and 2 nyts e tmang tama my trip ako sa cebu for business trip. very happy ako kc free na ang accomodation sa hotel ko. imagine ang laki ng ma save mo. isa palang scam

  • nakarating na pla sila dito sa davao, last sunday sept. 23, 2012 somebody call me name april of club ultima/ crown regency hotel asking my name, my status and my occupation, i answer honestly for their question, so after q and s, another woman call me for the verification name jane dawa, she asking for my confirmation to attend and presentation of their hotels, b4 dw ibigay nila ang GC ko kailngan dw talaga magkinig ako sa kanilang presentation kc may raffle na man dw trip to boracay.

    • Judy

      Thanks for your blogs guys on Club Ultima. I am scheduled to go to their office tomorrow. I will text Ms. Ynah that I wouldn’t be coming to their office anymore.

      Thanks God. I searched for Club Ultima.

  • e share ko lang ang text message nila sa akin. from cp# 09189651879, sept. 25, 2012, at 10:40am goaod day, this is april frm club ultima/ crown regency hotel. as previous arranged appointment has been made for you and your spouse. would like to inform you that i already reserved 2 seatsf for this afternoon’s event and the claiming proper of your gft. certificate. it will be appreciated if you’ll advice me your convenient time of arrival. thank you and its our pleasure to see you this afternoon.

  • e share ko lang ang text message nila sa akin. from cp# 09189651879, sept. 25, 2012, at 10:40am goaod day, this is april frm club ultima/ crown regency hotel. as previous arranged appointment has been made for you and your spouse. would like to inform you that i already reserved 2 seatsf for this afternoon’s event and the claiming proper of your gft. certificate. it will be appreciated if you’ll advice me your convenient time of arrival. thank you and its our pleasure to see you this afternoon.

  • alphs

    beware sa mga scamers!!

    • rguintoph

      Thank you for this. Was scheduled to go there this afternoon. Lucky I found your blogpost.

      • MissBackpacker

        Glad I was able to help. Be careful next time. 🙂

  • Kat

    pwede naman cguro humindi at hindi iavail ung offers nila?

  • Kat

    what if iavail mo ung free dinner,tas sa presentation ba pwde ka ba humindi o iavail ung mga inooffer nila?

    • MissBackpacker

      Hi Kat! From what I read, you can decline their offer of availing membership. 🙂

  • shy

    oh my god …is this really true? we are sched for claiming GC this coming monday..hmmm i won’t go there after reading the post about it .. thank u guys ..this really help a lot. i really think that this is a BIG SCAM..or else we’ll go there along with machine gun hahha.. god bless!

    • MissBackpacker

      Hello Shy. Unfortunately, all those you’ve seen here are true. One hard selling tactic of Club Ultima. Buti nagawi ka, kundi baka dumanak dugo. Hehe

  • Paltak!

    ^ “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”

    ^ “There is no such thing as free lunch.”

    I would like to add: If something smells fishy, it’s probably because something really is fishy.

    Saan ka naman nakakita ng “free gift” na hina-hardsell? Doon pa lang halata na.

    Noong na-realize ko na scam yung napag-signupan ko (without knowing the details–hindi ko pa nababasa noon itong blog na ito and other posts on the subject), naiwasan ko naman sila. Hindi ko sinasagot ang mga tawag nila. Sobrang persistent nila na kumontak sa akin, araw-araw. For something na wala naman akong binili, ibinigay, o ginawa (or promised to buy, give, or do). Saan ka naman nakakita ng “free gift” na sobrang interesado sila sa’yo kahit ayaw mo.

    Isa lang ang ibig sabihin noon: they were expecting to gain something from me. Even without knowing what that “something” is, I can sense that it is something very valuable based on their high degree of interest and the effort that they put in trying to contact me.

    Flashback to one year later. Nakalimutan ko na ang mga pangyayaring iyon. Edi noong tumawag sila, hindi ako nakaiwas. Nasagot ko yung tawag. Ayun, humihingi ng personal details such as pangalan ng asawa ko, cellphone number ko (landline yung naibigay ko noong una), address. Ako pa naman ay very suspicious sa mga nagtatanong ng mga ganyang information sa telepono. Maski yung mga legit na ahente ng mga bangko etc. na totoong ka-transaksyon ko ay hindi ko basta-basta ibinibigay yang mga yan.

    Ayun, hinintay ko lang siyang tapusin yung sinasabi niya tapos tinanggihan ko na. Tapos saka ko pa lang naisipan na magbasa-basa sa internet tungkol sa kanila. Kumpirmado, swindling operation nga!

    Dahil wala naman silang napala sa akin, ok lang ako. Ipagdarasal ko na lang sila – na sana mapabilis-bilis ang karma nila. On behalf of the people that they were able to scam, I pray that these swindlers get what they deserve.

  • Shelle Pedersen

    hinde ako nag pa member pero bakit binigyan pa din ako ng GC? Valid kaya ito?