Are Time Share presentations and gifts a scam?
I’ve heard this question from so many people so many times. I concede that they have 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.
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 it will only take 90 min. Count on 2 hours…minimum.
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’ them. If you go to a Timeshare presentation to save a few hundred dollars on your vacation…then buy a Timeshare for $15K, you have NOT come out ahead…. hmmm…
Sooo…How do you get the bargain while avoiding the pitfall?
First…Know Who Should…and Who Should NOT… attend a Timeshare Presentation.
Who SHOULDN’T: Answer: 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
Getting the best deal begins when they FIRST contact you – 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.” Sometimes I’m told ‘no’, but more often than not, they give me what I asked for. Now…they take away the free meal voucher, but I’m ‘ok’ with that. I preferred the condo and kitchen over a pre-determined menu item of ‘so-so’ quality in a mediocre restarant.
- NEVER pay the first price quoted: They never intend for you to say ‘yes’ (and possibly laugh at those who do…). Say ‘no’ to that 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 jump through 15 hoops to use. (they’re almost unusable) The value in what they’re offering is not in that extra vacation…it’s in the room/condo, free meals, tickets..whatever they’re offering for THEIR location. Base your decision on that. Ignore everything else.
How to Survive the Actual 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 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. how much can you pay for the timeshare) Be vague… They’re also trying to build a connection with you so you’ll let down 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!
- 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.
Bottom Line: If you are 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
- Zion National Park – SW Utah
- Dollar Store ‘Finds’ for the Frugal Traveler