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.
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.
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:
- DEFINITELY A SCAM: Club Astoria, Crown Regency Club Ultima and Club Bali Isabel Timeshare Scam
- 4 DAYS/3 NIGHT STAY AT THE CROWN REGENCY HOTEL ?
- Club Ultima… Beware
- Famous Crown Regency Hotel Offers a Questionable Club Ultima membership
- Don’t be deceived – My Club Ultima Experience
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.
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:
Denver Marquez – 09176452731 / 9047781 / 9047788 / 5009440
Ynah Laurel – 09166679274 / 5090165 / 3468724
Minnie – 09279227505
Le Metropole Building
G/F Unit 102
Sen. Gil Puyat Ave.
corner Tordesillas St.
Lesson learned? When things are just too good to be true, be in doubt. It could be an ULTIMAte scam.