Are Time Share presentations a scam?
I’ve heard this question so many times – from so many people. I concede that the initial phone call has all the ‘markings’ of a scam. They call you and offer deals that seem too good to be true. They ask for money upfront (a deposit) and that sets off the scam alert for many people. However, I will tell you, (as someone who has been to a LOT of these) they are not scams.
Allow me to elaborate…. The Timeshare itself IS a scam. What I’m saying is NOT a scam is the ‘presentation’. Everything they promise to give you, you WILL RECEIVE. We’ve gone to MANY of these and always received what we were promised. The only “lie” they tell you is that the sales presentation will only take 90 min. Count on 2 hours…minimum….maybe 2½.
Why would we go to these? Well, they CAN help out the travel budget – with offers of free accommodations, tickets, meals, etc… Sometimes the value of these packages can be as much as $300-400… but ONLY if you know how to ‘survive’ the sales pressure. If you go to a Timeshare sales presentation to save a few hundred dollars on your vacation…then buy a Timeshare for $25K, you have NOT come out ahead…. hmmm…
Sooo…How do you get the bargain while avoiding the pitfall? How do you survive a timeshare presentation?
First…Know Who Should…and Who Should NOT… attend a Timeshare sales Presentation.
Who SHOULD STAY AWAY:
The person who is easily swayed – or has no will-power to say ‘no’. While I will say over and over that these presentations are not a scam…owning one absolutely is!! Read more about that in TimeShares – The Good, The Bad and The (REALLY) Ugly
How Do You Make It Work FOR You?
Start with that FIRST phone call
- Know that you CAN negotiate with the ‘gifting’. There have been times when they’ve offered me a hotel room and meal voucher. I replied with “We’re on restricted diets. We can only stay in condos with kitchens for meal prep….and don’t need your free meal.” Sometimes I’m told ‘no’, but more often than not, they give me what I asked for….I ‘get’ the condo w/ kitchen; I lose the meal voucher. I’m ok with that. I prefer the condo/kitchen over a pre-determined menu item of ‘so-so’ quality in a mediocre restarant.
- NEVER pay the first price quoted: I really don’t think they ever intend for someone to say ‘yes’ to that first price (and possibly laugh at those who do…). Say ‘no’ to the first offer to get to the ‘real’ price. Say ‘no’ TWICE and you MIGHT (no guarantee) be offered the ‘basement price’ (one that not everyone gets….)
- When they offer you that ‘extra free vacation’, ignore them…It’s just a certificate which you then have to pay $29.95 and jump through 15 hoops to use. (they’re almost unusable….we’ve tried multiple times) The value they’re offering is in the room/condo, free meals, tickets etc…at THEIR location. Base your decision on that. Ignore everything else.
How to Survive the Time Share Presentation:
- Show Up! You’ve given them a deposit to reserve your place. If you don’t show up, you’ll lose that money. If you check in to the hotel, then don’t go to the timeshare sales presentation, they’ll charge your credit card for the full price of your package. Yes, they’ll keep their end of the bargain but you have to keep your end too. Furthermore, all the extra gifts (meal vouchers, tickets, etc…) are given to you AFTER that presentation….not at check in.
- The salesman’s goal in that first 15 min is to figure out who you are, what you do for a living and therefore, your income (i.e. Can you afford their timeshare) Be vague… They’re also trying to build a connection with you so you’ll lower your ‘defenses’ and ‘allow’ them to reel you in. There’s no need to be rude (at this stage), but don’t be BFF’s either.
- Don’t Ask Questions or Show Any Interest! Any interest at all and they’ll jump on it. They see this as “vulnerability” and they’ll keep you there thinking you’ll cave to their pressure and buy. Don’t give them any hope if you want to get out of there in a decent amount of time!
- Lastly, my normal mantra about most things is “Be polite”. However, if there’s ever a time when we’re not polite, it would be when dealing with a particularly pushy Timeshare salesman. In a few rare cases, we have had to get forceful with our “NO!” Don’t jump to that extreme the minute you walk in the door, but be prepared to take it to that level if needed.
If you’re interested in the incentives offered by the Timeshare company, there’s no need to fear it. Go ahead and give it a try….but ONLY if you have the fortitude to resist the sales presentation. If you don’t, then you’ll probably want to Stay Away! 🙂
- Can You Get Rid of a Timeshare?
- TimeShares – The Good, The Bad and the (REALLY) Ugly
- Finding the Best Deal on Airfare – Updated
- Dollar Tree Items for the Frugal Traveler