Thursday, June 28, 2018

I’m Fed Up With The Excuses!

I think it’s high time that the so-called ‘license to lie’ clause be taken out of contracts. Consumers aren’t given a chance to do any research during a sales pitch, so they must rely on what the salesperson says. 

I’ve redacted the name of the resort. Clever readers will no doubt know who is behind this horrendous story. 

We were defrauded by NAME OF DEVELOPER for $15,500 on 11/18/2016 in NAME OF CITY, Virginia. What happened is that their salesperson made representations to us which were not in the written contract we signed. We found out later that virtually nothing he represented to us at the sales presentation in order to induce us to buy was true. Details follow.

We only went to the presentation to receive the 'attendance reward'. After a few hours of listening to the usual hard sell spiel trying to get us to buy more anyway even though it made no sense for us because we wanted to "sell" what we already owned (for zero, which I have always known as the industry standard practice) , we made our position clear and started to leave.  

At this point our salesman offered us this "great new deal" NAME OF DEVELOPER could offer members who bought more points to become 'silver' members. The deal was that if we became silver members, after three years we would have the option to sell all our points back to NAME OF DEVELOPER for $108,000. He also put this phoney deal in writing (which I have). I was extremely skeptical because I had never heard of a timeshare buying back points. However, after he repeated this 'new deal' for about 5 times we finally decided that he couldn't possibly be flat out lying to our face,  (or if he worked for a reputable company they would rescind the contract), so we signed.  

When we later (6 months) found out that the deal he had offered us was totally fraudulent, we asked NAME OF DEVELOPER (repeatedly, orally and in writing) to rescind the contract because we had been defrauded. 

Their response...."it doesn't matter" what the salesman told us or even wrote down. The only thing they care about is that we signed their written contract. So they don't stand behind whatever the salespeople are claiming. Basiclally, we were told over and over again that "well, you signed the contract", even though the only reason we signed was because of what their salesperson told us which turned out to be a fairy tale. We are talking about major phoney representations, not minor. 

Obviously when salespeople know that when their company doesn't care if they make up a pack of lies to elicit a sale, if they are unethical they will say anything to get a commission. These people are totally unethical if not criminal. We want our contract rescinded and our money back! 


Monday, June 18, 2018

An Open Letter to Timeshare Developers

Dear Timeshare Developers:

I’d appreciate an honest answer from any of you. 

Why do you not buy back your own product when it’s being sold for $1,000, $100 or $1.00 on the secondary market when you can turn around and sell it the very next day or week for whatever grossly inflated price you do each and everyday to unsuspecting consumers?

It’s not like we’re talking about a product that deprecated due to rust or even the fact that it’s outdated. You maintain the product with the owners money and you determine the usage rules. 

ARDA just reported that the average price of a timeshare was $22,180. 

In under a minute, I was able to find these listings on a reputable resale site:

Marriott’s Desert Springs $4,295
Orange Lake North Village $3,000
Sheraton Broadway Plantation $500
Summer Bay Orlando $0 (not a typo)

It seems to me that you guys could turn a nifty profit by snapping these up and selling them for $22,180 or whatever your salespeople try to get. 

But you don’t. Why is that?  Are you trying to give the impression that these timeshares aren’t worth anything?  Because that’s exactly what you’re doing. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

A Cautionary Tale

This is yet another timeshare sales horror story that came to me last week.

I’m reprinting it here, complete will spelling and grammatical errors, and have added my thoughts on what the clear red flags were in the hope that they serve as a warning to you. 

My wife bought a sampler package for Diamonds out of sympathy for a old lady who was selling this for 140 USD package.  MISTAKE #1 DON’T BUY ANYTHING OUT OF SYMPATHY 

She lives in Texas and I am in Europe for the time being, we are from India. We used the package for Las Vegas, where we got an email that we have be in a meeting with them for 2 hour or else we have to pay 1200 USD fine. We had no choice and we agreed to be there. We had no idea what were getting into. I had never heard of Time share or Diamond resorts before. MISTAKE #2 DON’T GET INTO A SALES PITCH WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO SELL

In the meeting they were trying to sell as this Diamond resort points, which we denied as we don´t have the money or time to enjoy it. To give you a perspective, my wife widowed mother is suffering from breast cancer, currently living in India and all are money and time goes in travelling to India and bearing the expenses for the Chemotherapy. On hearing this the sales agent lied about the scheme completely. Understanding our situation, he told us that with this scheme she can save money on travelling. Every time she will buy a return ticket to India,she will be provided with an extra air ticket just for the price of 50 USD that she can use within 6 months. He reiterated that she did not have to necessarily use this scheme to enjoy the benefits of luxury resorts; in fact, she could use it for air travel to India and back. On asking the prices of tickets, he showed documents that the prices of tickets would be same (as we pay now) based on points and instead of two times I can travel four times to India. After he showed us those documents, we kind of agreed with his argument. MISTAKE #3 IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT IS

We spend almost 6 hours arguing with them, but they simply kept on lying about the scheme and got us to buy this 7500 yearly points (loan 27 Thousand USD).  MISTAKE #4 IT WAS TO HAVE BEEN A 2 HOUR SALES PITCH, WHY WOULD YOU SPEND 6 HOURS?  GET UP AND LEAVE

We now realize this was lie when she recently wanted to book a ticket to India through them. They told us that 7500 points are not enough to buy air ticket to India ( one way) and there is no such scheme of getting extra free ticket. MISTAKE #5 DO NOT BUY ANYTHING THAT YOU DON’T GET ACCESS TO IMMEDIATELY SO YOU CAN VERIFY

We are not in a financial position where we can afford paying for this (which is 400 USD per month) as well as expenses for the medical treatment of my mother which is necessary. This scheme is completely useless for us if we cannot use it for the purpose it was sold to us. 
We were sold this scheme on a false pretext which is shameful; trying to reap off a person in our situation who has already enough personal and financial troubles.



Monday, June 11, 2018

Double Points? How About Multiple Lies

I like to think that I'm a creative writer. I could not, even on my best day come up with such an outrageous story as this timeshare sales pitch that was sent my way. 

I’m not using the couple’s real name for reasons that will soon be evident. These people were promised "double point usage" if they upgraded by buying 15,000 additional points. They already had 50,000 points, which gave them more than what they needed to meet their travel needs.

Back in February of this year, they met with their sales rep who informed them of "big changes" in the program due to the company being acquired by a private equity firm some time ago and "to thank them for being members for over 5 years."  

The so-called "double point usage" pitch went something like this:

50,000 points already owned
15,000 points purchased today
65,000 total points
65,000 ‘double points given’
130,000 total points owned annually 

The sales rep casually mentioned that they would be responsible for a whopping $86,310 in maintenance fees over the next 10 years if they didn’t take advantage of this offer. Of course, he had a 'solution' for that.

The ‘solution’ was to purchase 15,000 more points, giving them 65,000. But the developer would then ‘give them’ an additional 65,000 making 130,000 annually. 

Using the original 50,000 would leave them 80,000 which would then be ‘translated’ into $8,000 annually to be used to pay off maintenance fees. Are you as confused as I am?  The $8,000 comes from a ‘redemption’ of $.10 for each of the remaining points. I TOLD you these guys were creative. The $8,000 would be given to them either on a check or a reloadable debit card. I kid you not!  

Believe it or not, this couple fell for this BS.   Their annual maintenance fees are now more than $11,000 and they have new loans totaling $57,000!

Astonishingly, this story gets worse. Flash forward to May when the couple went through yet another sales pitch with the same salesperson. 

Ah, now the program had some changes according to the dear, sweet, trustworthy salesperson. The reloadable debit card had been discontinued due to ‘problems.’

The ‘bonus’ 65,000 points were to have appears on a ‘split screen’ on the couples online dashboard. The developer was still ‘working on’ this split screen feature.

The ‘double points’ never made it to the consumer’s account of course. 

The developer’s answer to this nonsense?  

“I definitely agree that your confusion of that process is warranted. I have spoken to our legal team and sales team and we agree the double point explanation is definitely something that could have been misconstrued or seen as confusing by members or purchasers.

We have made changes to the way that information is given at the time of sale but we have to say the stance we take on this is: because there may have been some confusion on how you may use those points to create a savings for yourself doesn’t make the explanation illegal.”

As reprehensible as this sales pitch is, I find it equally, if not more astonishing that this couple fell for this. The red flags in the pitch are EVERYWHERE!

If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

If something is important to you, get it in writing and ask to see exactly where it is in the contract.

Do not purchase anything today based upon things you're getting in the future.