About Interval International
Interval International is a broker service for timeshare owners that began in 1976. They have a database of over 2 million members, a network of 2700 resorts, in more than 75 nations. With resorts of every style and size located all over the world, members can take advantage of the value added services by upgrading their membership level. Interval International also has other travel services available within their network of affiliates including airfare, car rentals, and much more.
Different options for members include exchange programs, getaway programs, vacation programs, cruises, and short stay exchange programs. The cost of a one year standard membership is $84.00, it costs $219.00 for three years, and the maximum membership of 5 years costs $336.00. Upgrading to different membership levels is accompanied with additional fees for its value added services.
Some of the benefits that come along with the upgraded memberships include concierge service, discounts and vouchers to use during the vacation. Interval options are also part of the upgraded packages; this option enables you to exchange your timeshare for a cruise, golf or spa vacation. Another accommodation option that is included in the Club Gold membership is the ShortStay Exchange; this means they are able to take smaller trips in exchange for their timeshare week.
Interval International does not own any resorts, the resorts in their database come from the location of their members’ timeshares that are up for exchange. Interval Exchange Process allows them to withdraw another interval or timeshare of equal value for a vacation.
The main complaints from members primarily deal with the lack of options in the exchange program. Once you pass your weeks off to IntervalWorld.com you are not able to reclaim them. Requesting a place to visit in exchange for yours must be submitted at least one year in advance because of their limited choices of properties.
Even if you put your request in early you are not guaranteed that you will ever get the location you were hoping for. Some members waited two years before they got their requested location and some members never got the timeshare they requested.
1 ‘Interval International’ Review
Is Interval International adequately protecting customers personal data?
In 2013, I was asked by someone I considered a professional colleague and friend to do her a favor and fill a VP level role on a temporary basis at Interval International (Interval Leisure Group, INC., IILG) after at least 3 turnovers for the position within about a 6 month period. I did so with the expressed commitment the position would become permanent after the holidays and the conclusion of major business transactions occurring at the time. Among other concerns, I also uncovered a potential SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley) violation due to a lack of data security. (Please see “Ethics: The cost of violations and how to mitigate them.”)
During a sexual harassment investigation involving an IT Contractor, I discovered that data security was at risk due to the use of dozens of high-level highly compensated IT and Finance Contractors whom had almost unlimited access to confidential customer and company information. Despite diligent effort, I was unable to locate records that background checks or drug checks had been executed for these workers nor had their identity been validated or the basic security protocols followed, such as a photograph for their security access ID badge or their vehicle information. Yet they had security clearance that exceeded that of many executives. The company had an expensive security system in place at every door as well as security guards, not to mention server servicing and backups yet their failure to consistently apply security procedures to consultants completely undermined these measures. Every employee of the company, including those earning under $10 an hour with little to no access to confidential information submitted to these screenings. However, these contractors were being paid through accounts payable therefore they were not subjected to HR screenings. Additionally, most were hired through various staffing agencies with outdated and/or inconsistent contracts. Based upon an agency contract audit I initiated and managed, I found that most agency contracts either did not require the agency perform these screenings or even if it was stated in the contract, the agency did not actually execute that requirement unless they were specifically asked to do so and I found no records such had occurred. Therefore I identified this known practice created significant risk to employee safety as well as data security.
Data security has increasingly become a major threat to US companies with recent breaches at multiple government agencies, Home Depot, Target, Anthem, Ashley Madison, JPMorgan, Ebay and Sony Pictures just to name a few and the associated costs is easily in the billions.
Interval’s quarterly SOX audit never caught the issue. The audit simply did not ask the right questions so everything was checked off and cleared along with executive signatures that they had no concerns about internal systems, quarter after quarter, year after year. Which is likely why I was terminated abruptly as the quarterly statement was being prepared and I would not have signed it without this issue on it. This was the company’s long standing practice so apparently no one had ever questioned it. When I repeatedly pushed for corrective action on the potential SOX violation asking that consultants submit to these basic screenings, I was immediately terminated and escorted mid-day from the building. The SVP of Human Resources was well aware of the situation and in fact created or at least significantly contributed to its existence yet remains in position. Additionally, I informed the CEO, COO and Chief Legal Counsel of these concerns as well as other potential business ethics violations. While I have no idea if they addressed the data security issue, they took no action to address the negative impact I suffered.
Most concerning to me is the fact that many tourism and hospitality customers may not realize that IILG manages the back office and therefore customer data for various subsidiaries and partners that may include Trading Places International (TPI), Hyatt Residence Club, Aqua-Aston Hospitality, Vacation Resorts International, VRI Europe, Hyatt Vacation Ownership (HVO), the Hyatt Residence Club, Hyatt Vacation Ownership, other affiliates of Hyatt Hotels Corporation as well as other participants in their timeshare and cruise exchange programs. This potentially exposes hospitality service providers and millions of their customers to data breach without their slightest level of awareness. For example, who would have the resources and perspective to link burglaries of the families of these various providers while they travel? Would investigators be able to identify a pattern and source or would they simply conclude occurrences were unrelated?