Wednesday, October 17, 2018

They Said...Doesn’t Mean You Should Believe

Here are the most common things I hear from unhappy, frustrated timeshare owners. The developers continue to get away with them because of the infamous ‘oral representation’ clause. 

>They said it was an investment

>They said it was easy to sell

>They said to fill out an application to see if we were eligible, but they opened a credit card and charged it for the purchase (or down payment)

>They said we could pay our maintenance fees with this new program, but the program didn’t exit

>They said we could sell our timeshare if we bought more points, but the program didn’t exist

>They said we could pay our maintenance fees by using a credit card, but we would have to charge $200,000 in a year to pay a $2,000 maintenance fee

>They said airfare would be included when we booked a stay

>The sales agent said the last agent did not sell us enough points

>They said we could rent our timeshare, but the resort does not allow this

>They said if we did not give up our deed and buy points, our children’s’ credit would be destroyed if something happened to us

>They said the sales presentation would only be 90 minutes but it turned into 5 hours

>They said if we didn’t change to another program our maintenance fees will go through the roof

>They said that I should not have bought a timeshare in Hawaii because they have hurricanes

>They said that I should not have bought a timeshare in Florida because they have hurricanes

>The sales agent said he would be my personal representative, but he never returned my calls or text messages.    

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Inheriting (or not) a Timeshare

I’m not an attorney so I am not giving out legal advice here, but one question I get asked time and time again is ‘Do I have to inherit my parents’ timeshare?’

The best answer I can provide is ‘maybe.’

If you are on the deed or other legal instrument conveyed by the resort, the answer is most likely YES. 

If you’re not on the deed or other legal instrument conveyed by the resort, the answer is most likely NO. 

From the legal experts that I’ve discussed this with, it seems the best course of action in either case is to send a "disclaimer of interest," along with a copy of the original owner's death certificate, to the timeshare property within a specific time frame -- usually nine months after the original owner's death. 

If you intend to refuse the timeshare inheritance, you must not take advantage of any timeshare privileges because this may cause you to forfeit your right to refuse the timeshare. 

If money is still owed on the timeshare, that presents a whole range of additional steps and in that case, you absolutely should contact an attorney as you would in the case of any other debt that the deceased had. 

Don’t be taken in by the scare tactics that so many of these self/proclaimed ‘timeshare exit’ companies use to get you to cough up thousands of dollars so that your heirs don’t have to inherit an unwanted timeshare. As with most of the claims they make, it just isn’t true. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Certain Similarities

There’s been a lot of teeth gnashing lately about the dangers of those so-called timeshare ‘exit companies’ that promise beleaguered owners a way out if they’ll hand over several thousands of dollars. Much of this teeth gnashing has come from the timeshare industry itself. 

Don’t get me wrong-I abhor those companies that promise a quick solution to a problem that isn’t at all easy to fix. The timeshare industry has had 40+ years to carefully construct lengthy contracts in perpetuity that favor the developer. Contracts are not easy to get out from. And I applaud the timeshare industry for shutting down these bad players. I’d applaud them even more if there were more viable exit strategies for owners, but that’s a blog post for a different day. 

However, with the industry applauding themselves for having played a part in shutting at least one of these ‘exit companies’ down, it brings certain similarities to the surface between ‘getting into a timeshare’ and ‘getting out of a timeshare.’


>Both involve the consumer being ‘invited’ to a presentation I.e. a sales pitch of some kind

>Both involve a multi-hour demonstration of how the consumer can have their problem solved by signing up

>Both require the consumer to make a decision immediately after the presentation, the dreaded ‘this offer is only good today’ pitch

>Both require the consumer to pay thousands of dollars upfront for some service that may or may not ever be available to the consumer

It’s this last point that’s really telling. In the case of the ‘exit company’ weary consumers are forking over thousands of dollars today under the assurance that the company will be able to extricate them from their contract at some uncertain date in the future. In the case of the timeshare itself, weary consumers are forking over thousands of dollars today (and promising to pay more every year in perpetuity or until they rid themselves of it) under the assurance that the company will be able to provide them with their dream vacations year after year. 

In both cases, the consumer leaves the presentation several thousands of dollars lighter and with a head full of dreams. 

The all so sad and familiar tales of woe show up several months later when the owner either receives yet another unwanted maintenance fee bill from the resort because lo and behold the ‘exit company’ didn’t fulfill any of their promises and/or the developer turned down the transfer request or when the owner discovers that they can’t get to Hawaii or Myrtle Beach or use their points to pay for their maintenance fees because lo and behold, their oh so friendly salesperson misrepresented some key factors.

Ever wonder exactly who works as the pitch men for these ‘exit companies’?  Ever wonder where they learned their spiel?  Ever wonder why I tell people to not make any purchasing decision in haste or why it’s not advisable to pay today for some promised service in an undetermined date in the future?  Wonder no more, people. Wonder no more. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The NFL Players Association Has to Approve This?!?!

You’re not going to believe this. I didn’t, but alas, it’s true. This could only take place within the weird world that’s timeshare. 

There’s a salesperson, referred to as a Vacation Counselor, at a Diamond Resorts property-Daytona Beach Regency-by the name of Elgin Davis. Mr Davis is a former NFL player-New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers. Is this the real Elgin Davis, or someone pretending to be Elgin Davis?  Either way, read on. 

A current Diamond owner was on a sales presentation with Mr Davis and reported that Mr. Davis said, “he could get us the  $3.96 per point price, compared to the $9.00 price he showed us, but he would have to contact the NFL Players Association to get it because he is Diamond's NFL Ambassador for the ProBowl.”

Let that sink in. If I were to enroll in every creative writing class known to man, I could not conjure up such a whacked out sales pitch. 

Oh, and lest I forget, the current owner who reported this is over 80 years old and is in no shape, financially or otherwise, to purchase more timeshare. 

And of course, the $9.00 per point is a number pulled out of a hat. The number that should be paid attention to is what is this timeshare ‘worth’ when it comes time to sell. 

I’d like to hear from anyone at Diamond who can tell me if in fact the salesperson really is who he claims to be. I’m more interested in hearing from anyone at Diamond who would like to comment on Mr Davis’ ‘creative’ sales pitch. 

I wonder what the NFL has to say about this?

Monday, September 17, 2018

Anatomy of a Scam

I honestly do not comprehend how anyone with a modicum of common sense could fall for this, but here is a recap of the pitch that a ‘timeshare exit’ company is using: 

“We received an invitation to attend a seminar and so we went out of curosity because we have a timeshare that we wanted to let go of so we went to see what they would say.  

Lo and behold they talked about some open enrollment period from January 2015 to January 2018 where timeshares were to notify you because of some changes that were implemented (still not clear what the changes are but it sounded like it was all about escalated costs that they could now enforce) to allow you to opt out of your contract and be allowed to return your timeshare (of course at a cheaper cost than it would be to keep it).  

They calculated this cost based on 10-15 years of timeshare fees minus equity that you had accrued.  You would only be allowed to do this If you did not a have a signed release from ARDA in your file.  If there was an signed release by you then no they could not do anything and you couldn't return it.  They worked with ARDA and could check immediately to see what was in your file and what timeshares you owned and whether there was a signed document on file   A lot of times they said people signed these releases at presentations not knowing.  

They also indicated that they had a big lawsuit with Diamond and couldn't accept any Diamond properties but that some big changes would happen in December when they won their case for US Collection members to give back their points.”

What sheer and utter nonsense this is. I especially like the bit about ‘a signed release from ARDA in your file.’  It’s like being on ‘double secret probation’ in Animal House. 

People, I know you’re desperate to get out of your timeshare contract and I know that you’re at a disadvantage because you fell for a bunch of lies that convinced you to buy the thing in the first place without doing any research or even insuring that you understood the contract. But for heavens sake-STOP and think for a moment before you throw out yet more money. 

Breathe. Drop me a line. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Going After The Bad Guys-Some of Them

From a Press Release discussing the timeshare industry’s response to various companies engaged in ‘exit strategies’:

"A top priority for our industry and owners, and for law enforcement and other agencies, is to protect consumers from dishonest individuals or companies trying to take advantage of them," said ARDA‐ROC Chairman Ken McKelvey. "These actions send a strong signal to criminals that fraud and deceptive activities will not be tolerated by our industry and it tells consumers that we take the actions of these individuals very seriously."

Hopefully after this they go after the fraud and deceptive activities used by companies engaged in timeshare ‘entry strategies.’

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A Rant...Against Consumers!?!?

As someone who has been writing about the timeshare industry for many years, I have joined a number of Facebook groups dealing with various timeshare resorts. I’ve been viewing the recent posts and ensuing comments over the past few weeks and for the most part, kept my mouth shut. 

I can’t keep quiet any longer. As some of you know, I’ve been writing about the industry and attempting to help as many consumers as possible for almost 18 years. I do not consider myself to an expert, although I do my very best to keep up to date with the goings on in the industry. 

A few points:

>Just because you have a computer, a keyboard and have sat through a timeshare sales pitch, or even purchased one,  does not make you an expert. There are too many replies being posted that are erroneous and doing more harm than good.

>Just because you purchased a trial program or a timeshare without doing a modicum of research before plopping down your money and you now decide you don’t want it or can’t afford it does not mean you have an legitimate complaint, especially one that you’re going to file with law enforcement. Don’t get me wrong-I abhor the lies being told by some sales staff and it should cease. However, understand that your seemingly unending practice of believing some of the most outrageous stories known to mankind, only serve to encourage these liars and as you know, the developer relies on the ‘You signed the contract’ defense over and over again.

>Constantly asking ‘How do they get away with it?’ does no one any good. We all know the problem and we all know that they DO get away with it. There’s a much bigger and broader issue here that seems to get ignored. Systemic change is necessary. 

Consumers MUST take some responsibility for what’s going on. The developers that turn a blind eye to, or worse, encourage their sales staff to misrepresent the product, are under no pressure to change their ways because it works. You continue to fill their sales rooms day after day. You continue to allow them to hold your credit cards and drivers licenses hostage to drag out a 2 hour presentation to 4 hours. You continue to sign paperwork that you’ve never read and don’t understand. You continue to blindly accept what the sales person says without asking to see it in the contract. And you continue to buy. And buy. And buy some more. 

Rant over. 

Friday, September 7, 2018

A Closer Look at What ‘Timeshare Exit Companies’ Say

Before you get tricked into paying thousands of dollars to a company that claims to be able to ‘get you out of your timeshare’, let’s take a look at what one of these companies recently posted on Facebook.  (Their words are bolded)

“In the past 12 months I have helped nearly 1,000 timeshare owners get rid of their timeshares completely.”
Maybe, maybe not. You have no way of verifying this. 

FACT #1: Renting or Selling Your Timeshare is near IMPOSSIBLE
This is the one part that has a modicum of fact in it. Many timeshares, particularly point based ones, are very difficult to sell. Renting your timeshare is generally a much easier proposition. In either case, much depends in location and type of timeshare. All is not lost. 

FACT #2: Your Maintenance Fees Will Rise for Eternity
Again, let’s look at the facts. Yes, maintenance fees do rise. ‘For eternity’ is a rather broad statement though and not all resorts are so poorly managed that they access large increases each year. Again, take a breath here and look at what your experience has been. 

FACT #3: Your Children WILL Receive Your Timeshare When You Pass
This is just plain false. Your children, grandchildren and/or any heirs are not required to take possession of your timeshare when you die. Any competent attorney, such as the one handling your estate can take care of this. 

FACT #4: The Timeshare Salesman LIED To You
This may or may not be true. However, the examples that this company uses as ‘legitimate reasons to get you out of your contract’ are in fact not legal grounds to do so. They include:

“You’ll be able to go to any location you want!”
“You will want to pass this to your children.”
“Your fees won’t go up.”
“You own your house - you should own your vacation!”

A timeshare contract had been carefully crafted by seasoned professionals. Getting out of a contract is nowhere near as easy as these companies make it out to be.
And this company and all the other similar companies dodge the one question that you should be asking them:

Why would anyone pay thousands of dollars upfront to anyone for this type of service and why won’t the timeshare developer take back the timeshare when they can turn around and sell it the very next day?

Knowledge is power. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

We Can Not Guarantee Compliance With The Law

After reporting on the timeshare industry for almost 18 years, very little shocks me any longer. 

I nearly fell off my chair when reading this, however. Here is a section of Diamond Resorts’ (at the time Diamond Resorts International annual report dated December 31, 2015. This is unedited, I merely added boldface type to call attention to a few points. VOI stands for vacation ownership interests. 

"We are subject to extensive regulation relating to the marketing and sale of vacation interests... all of the countries in which we operate have consumer protection and other laws that regulate our activities in those countries. The cost of compliance with such laws and regulations can be significant, and we cannot guarantee that we will at all times maintain compliance with all such regulations and other laws.  Moreover, from time to time, potential buyers of VOIs assert claims with applicable regulatory authorities alleging unlawful sales practices by the developers of the Diamond Collections and Vacation Interests salespersons. Actions by regulatory authorities, in response to these claims or otherwise, could result in our having to make modifications to our business practices or policies that adversely affect our VOI sales or other business activities and could have other adverse implications for us, including negative public relations, potential litigation or regulatory sanctions...violations of these laws, policies or principles to which our operations are, or may become subject, may limit our ability to collect all or part of the principal or interest due on our consumer loans, may entitle certain customers to a refund of amounts previously paid and could subject us to regulatory investigations or actions, fines, penalties, damages, administrative sanctions and increased exposure to litigation, and may also impair our ability to commence cancellation and forfeiture proceedings on our VOIs."

What is your takeaway from this?  Like I said, I’m shocked. I can’t imagine any company in any other industry readily admitting what this company just did. 

And you want to purchase a timeshare, why?

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Everyone With a Keyboard Isn’t an Expert

Mistakes happen. Typos happen. I’ve had more than one pointed out to me. 

I recently came across a blog, which really wasn’t much of a blog at all, from someone claiming to be an ‘Advocate for timeshare owners.’

This is an excerpt of a post from today:

The following is a list of Timeshares that have been successfully transferred in the past 3 years. The original owners happily know longer have their timeshares and are not responsible for any future fee's.

Orange lakes Resort
Hillcrest Lake Resort in Avida Springs La
Bluegreen in Branson Mo.
Diamond Resorts in Scottsdale Az.
Diamond Resorts in Sedona Az
Wyndham Resorts in Shawnee Pa.
Ocean Sands Resorts in Virginia Beach Va.
Spinnaker Resorts in Branson Mo,
Silver Lakes Resort, Kiss. Fl
Woldmark, The Club, Redmond Wa.
Brigatine, La Sammana N.J.
Atlantic Palace. N.J.
Silver Lakes Kiss. Fl

If you know longer use your timeshare then why not add yours to this list?

In addition to poor grammar and atrocious spelling, she can’t even get the correct name of some of these resorts. 

The moral of the story is that you can’t trust everyone who claims to be an ‘advocate’, particularly one that can’t spell or know the names of the resorts she’s claiming to help people with. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Another Shining Example of Exemplary Customer Service-NOT

Another example of what can happen if you believe the timeshare sales staff instead of doing some research before even agreeing to the sales pitch. 

As usual, the resort’s answer was ‘you signed the paperwork.’  Buyers have absolutely no idea what they are signing at the time of a purchase. 

Air Force First Sergeant John Kim and his wife Glory, of South Carolina describe their battle with Bluegreen Vacations. 

“My wife Glory and I realized our mistake when we filed our 2017 taxes. We purchased about $60,000 worth of Bluegreen vacation points financed at 16.99%.  The first purchase was in April 2017 at The Fountains in Orlando, and the second purchase June, 2017. We had been told the June meeting would be an orientation meeting, but it was just an attempt to sell us more points.  We were told at both meetings we could go to our bank and refinance as you would any mortgage. We have learned banks don’t finance timeshares,” explained John. 

In addition, John reports being told-

>Bluegreen points are an investment, like a mortgage. It was emphasized that we were purchasing deeded property (which it is not), so an investment. We have learned Bluegreen vacation points are a right-to-use product, like joining a fitness club. Managers assured us we were making a sound “financial investment” and in years to come, we would be able to sell our portion of Bluegreen for a profit because we would have a deed to Bluegreen Vacations properties.

>We could deduct the interest from the loan on our taxes, as you could with any mortgage. This was not true.

Bluegreen ignored John. Bluegreen does not report nonpayment of a timeshare loan as a foreclosure, only because Bluegreen and credit reporting agencies Equifax and Experian settled with Finn Law Group in a lawsuit that resulted in 11,000 Bluegreen members’ foreclosure entries deleted from their credit reports. 

Other timeshare companies do report a loan default as a foreclosure. The Bluegreen decision ruled that timeshare foreclosures were in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Another point to consider is that when the timeshare salesperson tells you to refinance the newly purchased timeshare interest, he or she is not referring to pledging the timeshare interest itself as security because nobody in the financial industry thinks they have any value, however, the danger lies in refinancing and placing a security interest on your residence as with a home equity loan. You save money on interest but you have now placed an undue financial burden on your home and when you come to your senses it’s too late! 

Had you left your home unencumbered it is a very good possibility that you or an attorney on your behalf could negotiate a cancellation of the timeshare loan as long as it stays with the resort.

“We bought in Florida. I understand the Florida Timeshare Division, DBPR, will in all likelihood, echo Bluegreen’s defense with, ‘You need proof and verbal representations are hard to prove.’ With no real regulation, we want our voice heard. Don’t believe a word a timeshare sales agent says. I filed complaints with the Attorney General for the States of South Carolina and Florida, as well as the Federal Trade Commission, the Better Business Bureau, the Fraud Officer of Orlando Florida Police Department, Department of Defense investigative services for the Air Force, Army, Navy and Coast Guard and the AARP Fraud Watch Organization. Nothing happened. Our message – buyer beware.”

John has now volunteered to assist other active duty members about what can happen if they are foreclosed on. The consequences can include losing their military security clearance. 

Monday, August 13, 2018

More Despicable Sales Practices

I’m so freaking tired of hearing these stores. I’m so freaking tired of consumers being scammed. I’m so freaking tired of law enforcement and regulators turning a blind  eye to these practices. 

Today’s hideous story tells of a veteran being scammed. I’m positive that this was not a one off, I’m positive it’s SOP for these guys. I hope you’re as upset as I am. 

Again, I’ve redacted the name of the developer. Why?  They’re on the warpath and from what I hear, they’re out to sue anyone and everyone who sheds light on their horrible ways of doing business. 

So I have a story that I'm sure you have all heard a thousand times. I'm just digging into everything and am realizing I got hustled. 

We purchased our initial membership in January and went to the NAME REDACTED resort during Easter. We went to our meeting and were given the upsell to upgrade. We initially were done and about to walk out when the guy who gave us our update came back and told us that we were part of a veteran's program and eligible to purchase a previous vets account since he had defaulted on it and that this was similar to a short sale. 

We were still out until he stated that the account had equity in it already (red flag I know now) and if there was ever an emergency situation we could sell it back to NAME OF DEVELOPER for the equity amount. I'm now finding out that that was a complete lie. What are our recourse's in situations like this? Who can I file a complaint with? I live in California.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Changes Have Come...In Other Countries

While it may seem that things remain status quo here in the US when it comes to timeshare matters, it’s not the case elsewhere. 

Consider that in Spain perpetual timeshare contracts have been ruled illegal. To date, Spain has ruled in favor of the consumer in a whopping 129 Supreme Court victories. 

In Canada, a decision was reached in July of last year (funny how this story didn’t receive much coverage here) that will likely affect all timeshares and owners of timeshares with properties located in Canada. The Federal Court of Appeal set aside the Tax Court of Canada’s decision in the case of Club Intrawest v. Canada. In doing so, the Court of Appeal substituted its own decision to refer GST assessments back to Canada Revenue Agency for reassessment of GST just for services supplied in Canada in relation to vacation homes situated in Canada.  Federal Appeal Court Judges Nadon, Gauthier and Dawson agreed with the Tax Court’s finding that a principal-agent relationship does not exist between the club and its 22,000 members. 

This decision also confirms that members of Club Intrawest (now rebranded Embarc by Diamond Resorts International (DRI)) do not hold beneficial ownership in the real estate and equipment in vacation home resorts and do not control the Club. The Court found that members merely own a right of occupancy in exchange for their resort points. This contradicts sales presentations, financial and marketing materials by Intrawest Corporation (“Intrawest”) and now DRI, to the effect that members have beneficial ownership of vacation homes and control the Club through election of the Board of Directors, responsible for managing the Club’s operations.

The ruling will require the club to pay reassessed GST back-taxes for tax years 2002-2007. The GST/HST tax liability for tax years 2008-2016 is unknown at this time. All timeshare owners with vacation homes in Canada may be impacted by this decision and may also see themselves assessed for back taxes on the supply of services in Canada related to vacation homes situated in Canada.

Also in Canada, a remarkable piece of legislation passed last month known as Bill 178. This Bill was introduced in April of this year and passed in June of this year. 

Although this only covers the province of Quebec and most timeshares in Canada are located in other provinces, the bill is quite an eye opener. 

Here are some excerpts from the bill which are well worth your time: 

Bill 178 defines a timeshare contract as a service contract and not a purchase agreement involving a property transfer.

The Act proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection Act to introduce a protection regime governing contracts relating to timeshare accommodation rights.
The Act introduces rules specific to the making of that type of contract and sets out the compulsory information such a contract must include. It grants consumers the right to resolve the contract without charge or penalty within 10 days of signing it and specifies the circumstances in which that right is extended to one year.
The Act imposes on merchants who enter into a contract relating to timeshare accommodation rights the obligation to establish a payment schedule for each year covered by the contract…..Furthermore, the Act introduces a disclosure obligation related to promotion made by merchants engaged in the business of such contract, prohibits certain stipulations and provides that such contracts may not be automatically renewed.

Division V.3
Contract Relating to Timeshare accommodation rights

187.13 A contract relating to timeshare accommodation rights is deemed to be a service contract

187.14 A contract relating to timeshare accommodation rights must be evidenced in writing. In addition to the information that may be required by regulation, it must contain or state the following, presented in conformity with the model prescribed by regulation: 
(h) the term and expiry date of the contract;
(j) the fees to obtain an accommodation right, their amount on an annual basis if they are calculated on a basis other than annual, and the total of such amounts for the entire term of the contract.
(t) a statement that the merchant may not collect payment from the consumer before beginning to perform his obligation;
(u) the right granted to the consumer to resolve the contract at his sole discretion within 10 days after that on which each of the parties is in possession of a duplicate of the contract; and
(v) the other circumstances in which the consumer may resolve or resiliate the contract, any applicable conditions and the time within which the merchant must refund the consumer.

187.15 Any stipulation that results in the automatic renewal of a contract relating to timeshare accommodation rights is prohibited.

187.16 The merchant may not make the entering into or the performance of a contract relating to timeshare accommodation rights dependent upon the entering into of a credit contract.

187.21 The contract may be resolved at the discretion of the consumer within 10 days following that on which each of the parties is in possession of a duplicate of the contract.

That period is, however, extended to one year from the date on which the contract is made in either of the following cases:
the contract is inconsistent with any of the rules set out in section 25 to 28 for the making of contracts, or one of the particulars required under section 187.14 does not appear in the contract; or
a Statement of consumer resolution and resiliation rights and a resolution and resiliation form that are in conformity with the model prescribed by regulation were not attached to the contract at the time the contract was made.
187.24 Any contract entered into by a consumer, even with a third-party merchant, on the making of or in relation to a contract relating to timeshare accommodation rights and that results from an offer, representation, or other action by the merchant who is party to the contract relating to timeshare accommodation rights forms a whole with the latter contract and is resolved or resiliated by operation of law at the time the contract relating to timeshare accommodation rights is resolved or resiliated.

In addition, the consumer may, with respect to a contract entered into with a third-party merchant and contemplated in the first paragraph, exercise directly against the merchant a recourse based on the non-performance of the contract or on the provision of this Act.

187.25 Within 15 days after resolution or resiliation, for the reason set out in section 187.26, of the contract relating to timeshare accommodation rights, the merchant must refund all sums paid by the consumer under the contract and under any other contract contemplated in section 187.24, including sums paid to a third-party merchant.

229.1 No person may, when making or promoting a contract relating to timeshare accommodation rights, make representations implying that the contract is an investment, unless the person gives the consumer a document showing the truthfulness of the representations.

A contract related to timeshare accommodation rights is considered a service contract. You may resiliate your contract for other reasons, and you have other rights and recourse.

How long before the US sees legislation such as these passed in Spain and Canada?  My guess is a long time the timeshare industry is deeply entrenched in. They’re fighting hard for things to remain status quo. 

Looking to change things?  Speak up. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

No More Business As Usual

I was recently quoted in an excellent article written by Gregory Holman from the Springfield News Leader. Here’s the link

The article was one of the most direct and scathing indictments of the timeshare industry and its closely related counterparts that I’ve seen in recent memory. The stories from the affected consumers ring true and sad. 

What I found most surprising about the piece was the Greater St Louis Better Business Study which included some very direct recommendations to both the industry and regulators. You can read the entire Study here

How long before more BBBs and other organizations issue such warnings and recommendations?  The industry bigwigs living it large on their private jets and ensconced in their ivory towers won’t succeed in any attempts to either shut those guys up or try to discredit them as they’ve attempted to do for years to certain consumer advocates. 

You might think that I’m pleased to read this article and the BBB Study. But I’m not. I’m saddened. Saddened that the industry has had every opportunity in the world to fix itself, yet steadfastly refused to. They’ve had every opportunity to work hand in hand with myself and others who have always maintained that it doesn’t have to be a win/lose proposition but a win/win where the industry thrives and consumers can purchase a great product. They’ve had every opportunity to come clean, admit there are some bad companies in the timeshare community, throw those bad companies out of their cabal and then distance themselves from those companies, but they don’t. 

I sense a seismic shift around the corner for the industry and the entire timeshare community. I think the days of business as usual are coming to an end. Don’t say you weren’t warned. 

Monday, July 23, 2018

Why No Advertising?

Have you ever considered why there are no advertisements for timeshare on any media outlets?  All other businesses use mainstream marketing methods and timeshares are a multi-billion dollar industry. So, why is it that they don’t market their products anywhere, instead choosing to rely on OPCs and mini-vacations that don’t mention the benefits of the timeshare?  This is of course followed up by high pressure sales tactics where consumers are given the choice between buying today or not buying at all because of some bogus ‘today only’ price.

Surely it can’t be because timeshares are any more ‘dangerous’ to the public than the litany of drugs with unintended side effects ranging from headaches to ‘your head may explode rendering it incapable of being reattached’ that it’s impossible to avoid when watching TV.

And more than one of those nifty ‘get out of your timeshare’ outfits are buying up radio and TV time with a vengeance.

Could it be that given the opportunity to truly think about the timeshare, the consumer would realize that there is absolutely no value proposition to it?

What do you think?

Friday, July 20, 2018

Stay Clear of This Sales Tactic

So, you’re sitting with your timeshare salesperson who has just shown you the price of $52,000 for ‘your week of paradise.’  You politely say ‘no’ adding ‘we already have a timeshare and we can’t afford maintenance fees on both of them.’

Wouldn’t you know it, the sales manager has a DEAL for you!  He comes back showing you that they’ll take $20,000 off the price of the timeshare they’re pitching because they’ll take your present timeshare as a ‘trade in’, bringing your price down to only $32,000. HOW can you possibly say no to this?

Here’s how and why you need to say ‘no.’

>Unlike car dealers, timeshare developers don’t have methods of off-loading other timeshares. 99 times out of 100, if you say ‘yes’ to this offer the manager will either have a last minute change of heart and tell you that they’ll honor the $20,000 ‘trade in discount’ but generously allow you to keep your other timeshare. 

>That $52,000 was a price they picked out of a hat, as was the $20,000 ‘trade in discount.’  In reality, you have absolutely no way of knowing what the ‘base price’ of the timeshare actually is. (Note that there is at least one developer that is transparent with prices, that being DVC.)

Don’t fall for this sales tactic. Tell the salesperson at the onset of the presentation that you’re setting an alarm for the promised time frame. Promise them that you’ll give a straightforward answer to their questions as well as give them a definitive yes or no answer to the buying question if and only if they promise to show you ONE price and ONE price only for the timeshare. No negotiations. 

Monday, July 9, 2018

You Won’t Believe This Language

I recently found some rather interesting language buried within the mounds of paperwork that consumers are forced to sign on the spot without having the chance to fully read and/or comprehend what the heck they’re signing when purchasing a timeshare. 

I’m reprinting it both for your review and as a caution. 

The purchaser promises to neither slander nor cause harm to the reputation of the seller by any means naming in an enunciation manner, but not limiting to pamphlets, magazines, newspapers, Internet websites, blogs, television or radio. In virtue of the above, the purchaser will not issue degrading statements in respect to the services provided or not provided by the seller nor will he use pejorative adjectives when he publically expresses any opinion, oral or written, related to his experience while practicing or not practicing the membership issued by the club. 

The parts agree that in case the purchaser does not fulfill his obligations established in this numeral, damages will be caused to the seller who will have the power to appear before the competent authorities to practice the corresponding actions with the purpose of being compensated for the damage caused. 

You read that correctly. Even if the developer does not hold up their end of the deal, I.e. ‘services provided or not provided’, the purchaser can’t talk about it or face monetary and assuming criminal charges!!!

What exactly are these guys trying to hide?