I've written a lot of blog posts and a lot of articles in addition to two books and several chapters of a college level text book.
I think this will be the most important post I've written. It's addressed to timeshare owners everywhere, although the timeshare industry would be wise to pay attention.
Everyone knows that there are serious issues facing owners and the industry alike and I've written extensively on those issues. The so called transfer companies are very important. Rising annual fees must be addressed. Absent or uninterested management companies should be dealt with. The timeshare product itself is long overdue for a rehaul. We can argue from now until the end of the world if consumers should only pay once a sale is completed or pay an advertising fee.
However, this post deals with the unsolicited, let me repeat, the unsolicited phone calls, e-mails and direct mail pieces that timeshare owners are flooded with to either "get rid of", or sell their timeshare.
At the just concluded Timeshare Board Members Association meeting there was lots of talk about the need to educate consumers as well as the financial damage that is being done when owners fall for "I have a buyer for your timeshare, just send me $1,500 for the paperwork" schemes that seem to multiply daily. There was a breakout session that I was honored to be included in that dealt with the possibility of coming up with one concise message to timeshare unsuspecting timeshare owners. No one seemed to be able to agree. It got somewhat heated and there were even some of the opinion that some timeshare owners were to blame for having purchased a "worthless week" (not my words) in the first place.
Last I looked, there was no timeshare education back 25 years ago and the industry wanted it that way. Heck, when I started this 10 years ago I was considered the devil because I wanted to educate consumers. Putting the blame on the consumer for purchasing a timeshare to begin with is NOT going to do anything to further the PR campaign that timeshare has in front of it.
I digress. So, I'm going to publish my "manifesto" to all timeshare owners. It's simple. I've been saying it for years now, but now I'm asking everyone to read it, remember it and pass it on. Here it is:
DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES DO BUSINESS WITH OR EVEN ENTER INTO A CONVERSATION, E-MAIL OR MEETING WITH A COMPANY THAT INITIATES CONTACT OR A COMPANY THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE A PRIOR RELATIONSHIP WITH IF IT PERTAINS TO TIMESHARE.
Pretty simple yes? Covers all the necessary bases, yes? And if any consumer needs any more reason to question this simple manifesto remember this: You got into timeshare to begin with because of an unsolicited contact with a timeshare related company.
How did that work out for you?