Thursday, January 31, 2013

It Was A Cold Call That Got You Into This Timeshare

Earlier this week, RCI issued this advisory:

While I applaud the fact that RCI or any timeshare related company is trying to warn consumers, I don't know why all of these warnings are so soft.

The advisory gives this advice:

1)  get the offer details
2)  be very skeptical of any upfront fees
3)  be wary

No, no and no.

It should be as follows:

1)  if a phone call, hang up
2)  if a direct mail piece, throw out
3)  if an e-mail, delete

No reputable company that I know of cold calls.  NONE.

If you don't initiate contact, then they are no good.

Since I repeat the samee thing over and over again, as do other companies and individuals who hear from consumers after they've been ripped off for thousands of dollars, let me put it in terms you, the frustated timeshare owner, can understand:



Thursday, January 24, 2013

It's Time To Dump The Property Tour

A few weeks ago, I met an old timeshare associate of mine for coffee.  Not that he was old...but old in the sense of a long time :-)  I met this man back in 2000 when I began selling timeshare full time and began on this long, strange trek of mine in earnest.

We talked about how very little had changed from 2000 to 2013.  You can walk into any timeshare resort anywhere in the world and it's almost verbatim.  The same hackneyed "10 Step Sales Procedure" is still being used.  (Details of this 10 Step Procedure can be found in any of my three books; "Surviving A Timeshare Presentation...Confessions From The Sales Table", "Timeshare Vacations For Dummies" and "Timeshare Management-The Key Issues For Hospitality Managers"-all of which are available on my site

In particular we talked about what a waste of time the "property tour" was.  If you've been on a sales presentation you know what I mean.  The salesperson drags you out of the sales center and shows you every single detail and amenity of the property...usually saying something inane such as "here is our pool" as you pass by many sunbathers looking annoyed.  As if you've never seen a pool before and have to be told what it is.

Back when I was a sales manager, I took a group of new salespeople to the model and asked them what they would say to the clients when they were inside the model.  Sadly, some salespeople pointed out the toaster and refrigerator as if these were miraculous inventions only available at the resort!  And this continues to this day as I'm certain you,my readers can attest to.

What's even sadder than this is when clients who are staying on property are subjected to the full blown property tour!  Back in the days when I objected to dragging my clients out in the 92 degree heat to see a room that was identical to the one they were staying in, I was told that is was necessary for the client to "experience the room in a clean condition without any suitcases around."  What's even sadder is when my clients or I pressed the issue we were told that "Florida law requires you to see the property before we can ask you to purchase."  But that's a topic for another day...

No one buys timeshare because the model is nice or the model has a hot tub.  People buy timeshare for what it can do for them and the value proposition.  If someone wants to see the entire property...I'm all for that.  I'm even cool with taking the new owners around for a tour and a meal after they purchase.

But dragging clients around and pointing out features that they may not ever use, since most people buy timeshare with the intent on trading it, is something that needs to be retired.

What do you think?

New Timeshare Site

I'm pleased to announce the launch of a new timeshare site:

While the site is currently in Beta, it's still worth a look.

Think TripAdvisor but focused solely on timeshares.  No, they don't sell any timeshare, they don't rent any timeshare, they don't sell mini-vacs.  They are interested in your unbiased reviews of timeshare destinations...not sales...not exchanges...just the facility and the experience itself.

Consumers who submit reviews and photos earn "points" and there are periodic drawings for prizes.  No, these are NOT RCI or other points, these are timeshareAdvisor points.

Timeshare Advisor is interested in unbiased, honest review and good reviews do not receive more points than bad reviews.

Eventually, resort managers will be able to submit information (not reviews) about their own property.  Consumers are encouraged to provide feedback on the resort write ups in order to keep the site current and of course, honest.  I just sent in some comments myself.

As I said, the site is still in beta, but you should check it out.

Let me know what you think.

Monday, January 21, 2013

But Here's Something Good From Festiva

Yes, the blog has been on fire hearing from all the owners at what used to be Celebration World Resort, now part of Festiva.

However, I did find something great on their website just now:

Member Advisory

We would like to remind all Festiva owners and members to take extreme caution when you are contacted by someone claiming to have a buyer for your timeshare, or who will sell it for a guaranteed amount. These solicitations typically come in the form of phone calls, e-mails or mailings of postcards or flyers.

Please note that Festiva is not affiliated with any resale company, and we never provide resale companies with any personal information about our owners and members. If you are contacted by any company other than Festiva, particularly if they claim to be affiliated with Festiva, please contact Member Services immediately at 866-933-7848 or with as much information as possible about the company or individual who contacted you.

For more information about timeshare resales including consumer advisories, please visit the American Resort Development Association's Resale Guidelines or the ARDA-ROC Timeshare Resale Resource Center.


I do wish other resorts would post these advisories...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Just When You Thought It Couldn't Get Any Worse For Timeshare Owners

I've written over 300 blog posts.  Some happy, some troubling.  NONE has made me sadder than this one.

We've all known that the so-called "bad guys" in timeshare are very clever.  Whether they claim things that aren't true, the various names and LLCs they operate under or their particularly emotional pitches.

It's just taken a drastic turn for the worse.

It seems that in Florida, there is a little known act in Florida known as the Sunshine Act.  Here's a snippet of what I found online: 

Florida began its tradition of openness back in 1909 with the passage of Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes or the “Public Records Law.” This law provides that any records made or received by any public agency in the course of its official business are available for inspection, unless specifically exempted by the Florida Legislature. Over the years, the definition of what constitutes “public records” has come to include not just traditional written documents such as papers, maps and books, but also tapes, photographs, film, sound recordings and records stored in computers.

It seems that several companies have gotten hold of timeshare related complaints filed in Florida and are now calling the consumers who have filed complaints.

You know what's coming next, don't you?  Yes.  The company has all the details of the complaint, right down to the complaint number and then asks for money so that the case can be investigated.

I'll have more on this matter in the next few weeks, but wanted to get the word out to consumers everywhere.

Couldn't get much worse.  Or sadder.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Companies Don't Do Things...People Do

I'd like to see more people in the timeshare industry come forward...or at least be "outed"...and take responsibility for both the good and the bad that happens.

What I mean is that a company doesn't do anything.  A person or a group of people at the company do things.  Remember the recent uproar over the so called "failure" of Apple Maps?  Well, Apple the company was not responsible for that...Scott Forestall was (supposedly) responsible for that and he was dealt with.

People complain all the time about bad timeshare sales people.  Well, I want to know who they are in addition to what company they work for.  I hear daily from people who say that they can't exchange their timeshare for anything.  Well, I want names.  The timeshare itself or RCI or II isn't responsible, the people are.

The same can be said for good things that happen.  If you are happy with the service from a timeshare related company, I want those names as well.

The only way I see out of this mess that the industry is in is for more transparancy.  People have got to be held responsible for what happens and those people have to be brought to the public's attention.