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Monday, December 1, 2014

Savvy timeshare sales presentation survival skills

They usually prefer married couples fora timeshare presentation.  But if you're single and make a certain level of income, then they will still take you. After all, you might have tons of friends who want to stay with you. You also might be a wealthy lawyer or a doctor. (Not that those people actually have time to get away.)  They are going to try to sell you on feelings and memories, as well as the potential for future feelings and memories.  I have many fond memories of time spent on vacation, some of it at actual timeshares.  Work this right and you will walk out with some prizes, work it wrong and you will find yourself a timeshare "owner."  Here's a little story...

My husband and I just went through a Wyndham timeshare presentation and some of the things they said were just plain wrong. Since we know what timeshares are about and weren't interested in buying, they couldn't crack us. One of the presenters tried to jerk at our heartstrings by saying that he recently lost his little 2 year old nephew and that he wished he had spent more time with him. And a Wyndham timeshare would have helped with that? Outrageous!

If you want to know more about how this works, look into how a sale is structured. They ask you what your "needs" are. They will have a form in front of them and ask if it's OK for them to make some notes.  They show you haw what they have meets this need. They give you the value, and then, after repeatedly asking if you could see yourself using that presidential suite they just showed you (which takes more points than you can imagine and are buying) then they spring you with the price. The salesperson then brings in a manager to tell you about the price.
They'll tell you they can give you a special that day only (don't believe it.)  Do not show any interest - even if they say, "what if I could drop it to half that?" The key phrase is "what if." Listen carefully. "What if I could" means they can't do it. Show no interest even if they say something drastic. If it starts with a "what if" it's a fantasy.  They don't provide financing.  If they did, they would make even more money off of your feelings and memories.
And the outrageous price of their "vacation homes"?  Wyndham wants $24,000 up front.  That's a car,  That's a college fund.   Like "ownership" makes it all better? Come on! Don't believe it! Oh, they will tell you that hotels are so expensive! All you get is a receipt!  Here you get ownership! What a crock! 
After the upfront cost, then you have to pay maintenance fees of $900 (or more) FOR LIFE! That's what "ownership" gets you.  Timeshares are great - for them. They get your money up front. They get to invest it. And they earn the interest on it. They take that money and build more timeshares so they can sell more timeshares.  Rather than a hotel which relies on random stays at peak times, they are guaranteed your cash flow.  And they use it.  Good for them!  If only all of us had thought of it.

You would be better off saving your money, earning some interest on it, and then spending it when YOU want. Look at the fine print. You own almost nothing. You can will your $900 per year in maintenance fees to your heirs. LUCKY THEM!  They have rewards credit cards now and want you to get one because that will "help pay" for the maintenance fees.  As if that makes it all better about passing it on to your heirs.  Sincerely, at least they don't have to pay the upfront charge, but your heirs will be taxed on whatever they inherit.  (I don't know how you tax a grave... if you look at the fine print... if the timeshare burns down, you are allotted a certain amount of property.  It's really small.    You aren't really an owner.  You "own" two weeks of time.  And there are 52 weeks in a year.  And hundreds of owners.  Some timeshares are just for two weeks ever two years.  It's probably more like a pet grave.  But, actually they would rebuild.  OUCH!)
At one point the salesperson said about our not taking more vacations, "Are you making excuses?" I said, "Excuses are for people who feel guilty. I don't feel the least bit guilty." Left her a bit speechless for a few minutes. My parents have a timeshare, so I sat through presentations with them and observed what was going on without being pressured because I was kid and also worked in sales for a time. My parents are as obstinate as my husband and I are. I also fell for a few bad sales in my life and learned from that.
And no, they won't give you enough time to look at all of the exchange fees and what your points actually get you. The time to do that is BEFORE you sign.  Once you sign a contract, contract law applies and you will have a hard time getting out of the contract. Most people don't know what contract law is. If you have misgivings, you need to put your cancellation in writing, make yourself a copy, walk it over to the office and make it stick by getting the name of the person you gave the cancellation to. Then write a formal letter with proof of mailing to the main headquarters stating that you wrote a letter to cancel, the date you signed the contract, the date you cancelled it, who you talked to, and that it had better stick or you will be seeking legal representation.

But, hey, if you have the disposable income and you think "ownership" somehow helps you justify your vacation expenses, then go with a company that doesn't kill you with exchange fees. And, in my world, justification is for people who feel guilty.  Don't buy and you will have nothing to feel guilty about.  You will be able to buy a car.  You will be able to save for your kids college fund.  You will have a significant down payment on a house.  And you will have an emergency fund.  Your credit will be intact.

If you were buying a house, you would have to produce documents to get the financing.  Since they don't deal in financing, you are putting it on credit cards.  And it isn't considered a real estate sale.  It's an investment scam and you're the one being scammed into ruining your credit.  It should be considered as bad as a ponzi scheme.

I hope that gives you the motivation to not buy. We walked out of our Wyndham timeshare presentation with a $200 gift card. Woohoo! But then again, we're both really cynical people who aren't easily pressured into ANYTHING.

Thanks for reading! Please leave a comment! Commenting is now open to everyone! (Write to me for advice! SavvySingleChristian@yahoo.com)


Paul S said...

Savvy describes you perfectly. Great post!

SavvyD said...

Where is the like button for this comment? Thanks for the compliment.

Paul S said...

You're welcome!

Anonymous said...

If you are not interested in purchasing a timeshare, do not attend a timeshare presentation! The free gifts are not worth wasting a day of your vacation, and putting your hard earned money at risk of being scammed by the timeshare salespeople. http://www.timesharescam.com/

SavvyD said...

Oh, come now. $200 for two hours was TOTALLY worth it. I wrote this to help enlighten people who may not otherwise think of how to protect themselves when they attend on the fly.

SavvyD said...

Also, since we know what's up with this kind of thing, OUR finances were NEVER at risk.

SavvyD said...

Anytime someone posts a link, it's because they are selling something. Unless it's a personal blog. So, just so we are clear, the guy who posted that is selling a service that helps people get out of their timeshare contracts. FOR A FEE. What I have done is help give you a primer for sitting through a timeshare presentation and surviving it without buying in.

Mark Miles said...

The timeshare presentations are usually long lasting, and no one wants to spend their time hearing nothing but lies.
I recommend you this article if you are interested in learning more about how to survive and avoid being scammed: