MARCO ISLAND — Gary Vinson was steamed. Now he’s on full boil.
A part-time Marco Island resident who owns a home on the island, Vinson a year ago bought into a Crystal Shores timeshare unit specifically for beach access for himself and his extended family throughout the year.
Along with the purchase, he asked for, and received, three letters of authorization that would permit him and his three grown children and their families to use Crystal Shores for beach access at any time.
Claiming rude and embarrassing treatment from local staff at the gate when his family members tried to use the access, Vinson has been for the past two months trying to opt out of his contract.
His son Gary Vinson II, along with his wife Wendy and their three daughters, tried to gain access more than once, but was told the letters were fraudulent, Vinson said.
Vinson then took up the issue with corporate management in Orlando, and managed to make some headway after talking to Keith Kocarek of Marriott Vacation Club International.
“He investigated and found that I was correct; that they had made the mistake,” Vinson said.
But for him, the sour taste persisted. Contacted at the time about the issue, Marriott Vacation Club International media spokesman James Woelbern said the matter was being investigated.
“We’re looking into it, and will conduct further discussion and resolution as is standard directly with the customer in a timely manner, he wrote in a response.
This week, however, Vinson said it looks as if his efforts are in vain.
“I called ... sent corporate an e-mail, but they basically said they weren’t going to do anything more,” he said. “The treatment is what it’s really all about. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice facility, but it bothered us. My son’s daughters were upset at being asked to leave the property.”
Asked for further comment also this week, neither of the corporate spokesmen were available for comment.
Vinson is reluctantly resigned to the stalemate, but as president of Retail Properties in Columbus, Ohio, he says he understands that a contract is binding, and that he likely has no further recourse.
“I can’t really do anything about it,” he said.
Marco Island has only a few beach access points; at Tigertail and South Beach (under county jurisdiction), at a point between the Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort and the Madeira high-rise condo; and at Crystal Shores.
The rest are either exclusive to beach-front condos, while Residents Beach is available to members only.
Vinson owns a timeshare unit valid for a week in either September or October.