Summer vacation is upon us and for millions of consumers, that can mean one or more hours long, high pressure timeshare sales pitches. This sales pitch can make it seem as if the salesperson is in control and you’ve got no choice but to go along. The good news is that that just isn’t true. You are in control, despite all the training that they've been through, so long as you remember that no salesperson can make you buy anything, unless you agree to it.
I got my start in the timeshare business as a salesperson, way back in 2000. Since then, I had an epiphany where I figured out that I hate selling and love helping people. I’ve dedicated my work to guiding consumers through the dizzying world of timeshare and to making positive changes within the industry. I'm pleased to report that I've been successful at the former but sad to say I failed at the latter. The industry has made it crystal clear they have no interest in changing for the better.
Let's start with a basic fact: The industry believes that timeshares must be sold to ignorant corralled prey, rather than purchased by informed and diligent consumers hunting for value. They play upon your greed and hope of gain or your fear of loss of a quickly vanishing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in order to sell as much as possible. That's actually good news for you! No one likes to be sold anything, so right away, you should know that if you're interested in purchasing a timeshare, there are many more, much less costly options open to you than giving up hours of your vacation time to listen to a salesperson rattle on.
The average price of a timeshare purchased from the developer last year was just above $21,000. More than half of that is eaten up in marketing and sales costs---someone has to pay for all those dinner show or theme park tickets that they bribe you with, right? In most cases, that very same timeshare can be purchased on the legitimate secondary market, without all the distractions and noise commonly found at the sales center, for thousands less. In some cases, for $100 or less! Don't you feel better already?
As with most purchases, knowledge is power. The less knowledge you have ahead of time, the more of a disadvantage you'll be at when you're confronted with a salesperson who is trained in telling you what they want you to hear (and not disclosing what they don't want you to know).
There are 4 words that don't exist when it comes to timeshare matters. Understand and master them and you'll be in control and more likely to make wise decisions.
FREE * PERFECT * ALWAYS * NEVER
Those free dinner show tickets or almost free accommodations—-of course they're not free. You give up hours of your vacation day in exchange for them. Additionally, that free buffet breakfast you might get while at the sales center is a) assuredly built into the price of the timeshare and b) designed to make you feel obligated to buy. Don't fall for it. You're under no obligation to buy, even if you went for that extra helping of nachos.
The salesperson has been trained to solve a problem. In the case of timeshare, it's a vacation problem. They are going to ask you leading questions until they uncover a problem. If there's no problem, there's no sale. No matter what vacation problem they uncover, don’t worry, there’s a solution. What a coincidence, the timeshare they happen to be selling this very day is the perfect solution to your problem. Imagine that? Except it won't be. Nothing is perfect.
Who wouldn't like to always go on a dream vacations? Who wouldn't always like to have their perfect accommodations just waiting for them? Who wouldn't want to always be able to afford this dream vacation? They catch you during your vacation, when you’re already away from all your worries. Imagine a life of continued bliss. Once you start down this wandering day-dreamy path, it's tough to stop.
”The timeshare will be a pre-paid vacation plan! Your cost will never go up!" Sounds great. Unfortunately, it's a lie. Don't fall for it. If you read the fine print, maintenance costs are your responsibility, dear “owner”, and they can go up unexpectedly.
Another thing to remember during the sales pitch is that the person asking the questions is the one in control. The salesperson will ask you many questions during the ”Discovery” part of the sales pitch. That's fine. Let them do their job. And then, YOU start asking the questions!
Lisa has identified 19 Questions You Must Ask Before Purchasing A Timeshare That Will Save You Thousands (And 9 Bonus Questions Pertaining To The Secondary Market).
This nifty .pdf which you can bring with you to the sales pitch, is available for only $2.99. Shoot Lisa an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, knowledge is power.
Get yours today! How would it make you feel to walk into that sales office knowing that you can’t be duped?
If you’ve already fallen for the hard sell and found yourself indebted for a ton of money that you may not be able to afford and a lifetime commitment that you may not want, there is some hope. Maybe you’re in the parking lot waiting for the complimentary shuttle with a shiny new timeshare contract in hand. You notice that you’ve got a cell phone signal again after leaving the sales office (another coincidence?) so you found your way to this blog post after searching for “timeshare second thoughts”.
The good news: Every state has a legally mandated rescission or cancellation policy; meaning if you follow the instructions within the myriad of paperwork to the letter, you must receive a full refund of any money paid and the resort must let you out of your contract.
If you’re past this rescission period, the outlook is significantly less cheery. The timeshare developers have had 40+ years to write contacts that are nearly impossible to break and lobby for laws that favor them over consumers. You just walked into their lions’ den in flip-flops, after marinating in margaritas under the sun. The contracts have jaws of steel and there’s no easy way out. Anyone who promises you an easy way out is lying, hoping you’ll stick your other foot in their trap.
In certain cases, it is possible to get a refund or have the contract canceled. It is usually a long-term process and you may have to resort to legal representation which can be costly. I’m happy to discuss with you your options, based on your individual situation.
So there, you have just received a primer on timeshare presentations and how they’re designed to tip the scales in favor of the timeshare predators, I mean promoters. The best advice I have for you is to do your research, ask for unbiased help, and, to begin with, simply avoid crawling the jungle of sales pitches. Shop around: fly above the noise, like an eagle, and keep your eyes sharp for the deals worth swooping down for.
Lisa Ann Schreier
The Timeshare Crusader
The above post was a guest post from Lisa Ann Schreier, an advisor to clients dealing with timeshare related matters. This is a follow up to our last blog post where we touched on Timeshares. FiClub-Franks-Trump-Tower-Las-Vegas-Lost-Weekend