Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Forget Gilligan's Island---This Was a 6 Hour Tour!

I received an e-mail today from a very frustrated timeshare owner who wanted my help in getting out of a timeshare purchase, long after the rescission period.


Here's a snippet of the e-mail in question:

Thank you for responding so fast.  There are many reasons why I want out of this contract.  I pay $156 a month for 8000 points biannually. Plus $670 in maintenance fees every year.  This adds up to $5,084 every two years.  When I use my points for a vacation all I get is 3 nights in a two bedroom condo at NAME OF RESORT REDACTED FOR PRIVACY PURPOSES.  This is a total rip off and I can get far better deals at much nicer resorts for this kind of money.  I am never able to book anything because it is always full.  I was also given an option for what they call bonus time.  This is another scam because you can only book a room 45 days in advance using bonus time so there is no availability.  They gave me a tour of the presidential suite and said I would be able to use it any time.  Yea right,  this unit is booked up for the next year and in order to use it it would take 32,000 points so that would be six years worth of points for just 3 nights.  It is impossible to use your bonus time because the suite is rented out for the next year and you can only book bonus time 45 days in advance.  I am so frustrated and don't know what to do. I went there for my 30th birthday party and that's when I sat through their 6 hour presentation and I made the mistake of being talked into it.  They were feeding me alcohol at the meeting and even took me to the liquor store in the facility to buy me more beer while in the 6 hour meeting.  I feel I was taken advantage of.  Please Help!!!! This is ruining my life.
Wow...just wow.  So, where to begin:
1)  this person is being charged $670 annually in maintenance fees for a biennial timeshare
2)  the sales presentation lasted 6 hours
3)  there was alcohol being consumed during the sales presentation
And this is in addition to not paying attention to the financial numbers nor the point numbers during the presentation.
Some facts this person should have known:
1)  the average maintenance fee is around $845 annually for an annual timeshare
2)  sales presentations lasting more than 3 hours are a sure sign of too much pressure
3)  alcohol should not be consumed during any sales exceptions
Make no mistake...if everything the owner is telling me is true, there is absolutely no room for this behavior on the part of the resort sales personnel.  This has to stop.
But you also have to wonder if this owner had done even a modicum of research and had a basic understanding of what timeshare and timeshare sales pitches are all about prior to attending if he'd be in this situation.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Consumers Have The Power and Need To Claim Responsibility

I received an e-mail last week asking for my help.  Here's a bit of that e-mail:

I am a student working odd jobs.  I received a letter from a timeshare resort indicating i am qualified to receive a gift certificate for two to stay in Williamsburg Plantation.Condition was 90 minutes presentation. I did not know I was qualified for buying timeshare.  I saw three salespersons and one sales manager all offering me to buy a timeshare.  My credit is not good and I can not afford the payment.  I would like to know if there are there any requirement? Or timeshare is legal fraud?  I need answer and I will complaint to Attorney General that why contract is not written in simple language.

Anyone who is familiar with my writing knows that I think the present day marketing and sales techniques that are routinely used in the timeshare industry need to change.  Without knowing details, I'd venture a guess that this client did NOT match the criteria of the average timeshare owner in the US, regardless of whatever low "qualifications" the resort's marketing company set up.

And no contract, timeshare or other is written in simple language...which I think is wrong also, but that is not going to change.

BUT, to ask if timeshare is "legal fraud" and to complain to me and the AG about the fact that this person bought a timeshare knowing full well he couldn't afford it, strikes me as irresponsible behavior.

Regardless of the marketing techniques, regardless of how many salespersons are used, regardless of how long the pitch takes, no one has ever had a gun to their head and been forced to buy timeshare.  No one.

This person, and every person has two ultimate powers:  1)  the power to accept or decline any gift offered in exchange for attending a pitch and 2)  the power to get up and walk out of said pitch.

To that I would also add that no one other than YOU can determine if you can afford to pay for a timeshare, a phone, a pair of jeans or a computer.  ONLY YOU.

Do things have to change in timeshareland?  YES.  Do consumers have to start taking back some of their power and claim some responsibility?  YES.