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. 

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