Georgian Manor Resort, Collingwood - SCAM-ish

I received an unsolicited telemarketing call offering a free stay at a resort hotel. The recording instructed me to dial "1" to receive a return call. I did this, and received a return call from a (sub-) human 10 minutes later. I identified the business involved - this was identified over the phone as "Resort Holdings Group" and stated as having Canadian telephone number 1 800 486 0485. (I subsequently determined that the company is in fact Resort Holiday Group of Companies; their web site returns a blank page in my browser, but contact data is available at this page, an excerpt of which is cached here.) I requested to be removed from their telemarketing program. I was informed by their staff that they use "predictive dialing" - this was confirmed by the staff member to involve dialing essentially random telephone numbers.

The "resort" itself is apparently legit.

The telemarketing offer apparently involves paying $70 (or thereabouts) for a 1-night stay. If you make it through a sales pitch - variously reported to be somewhere between 90 minutes and 2-1/2 hours - for "time share" (or if you prefer, timeshare) vacation time, your $70 may or may not be refunded. The pitch apparently asks you to purchase vacation time over a 25 or 50 year period for several tens of thousands of dollars. For reviews by people who have attended, see TripAdvisor. (I include "Collingwood" in the search because there is a "Georgian Manor Resort" in England.) At 2006-08-08 there were 125 reviews. For a listing of a unit for sale (at 2006-08-08), see this page.

The contents of the various TripAdvisor reviews are suspiciously bimodal - lots of really bad reviews interspersed with a fair smattering of good reviews. There are very few "3" ratings - just lots of 1s and 2s (subject lines like "What a RIp off!!" and "outdated building and non caring staff") and many 4s and 5s (subject lines ike "Fantastic Time" and "It was wonderful" and comments such as "Ignore the bad reviews!"). TripAdvisor's overall rating averages these out, and produces 2.5 out of 5. I leave it to you to decide whether the good reviews were planted.

"Lucia," the manager of the marketing department, informed me that their telemarketing program is filling 100 rooms a week. I stated my opinion that dialing random phone numbers is an unscrupulous marketing practice.

Carriage Hills Resort in Barrie seems to be affiliated. TripAdvisor reviews are similarly bimodal (though on average many more positive reviews are posted than negative).