3 Timeshare Sales Tricks and Why You Should Avoid Them
The methodology involving timeshares sales generally is quite unusual, if not to say actually outright ‘consumer unfriendly’, in comparison to sales practices of all other comparable luxury based durable consumer products.
Timeshare Sales Trick #1 – High Pressure Sales Tactics:
For example, timeshare sales are typically marketed by their developers as “today only” deals. This ‘take it today only or leave it’ process is exemplified by the industry’s refusal to allow prospective purchasers to take any sales-based materials with them overnight to allow a more thorough review of the materials and disclosures prior to making a purchase decision. Comparing just this singular sales practice alone to other ‘comparable’ consumer purchases of items costing over $10,000 (timeshare developer sales price average is slightly over $20,000) including items higher end consumer luxury items such as boats, campers, vacation homes, etc. finds no other consumer product marketed in this manner. Enter timeshare sales trick # 1, high pressure to buy immediately sales tactics!
When you consider the motivation that must exist to compel the timeshare resort industry to exert high pressure sales tactics, the goal has to be, at least in part, to compel a purchase decision based strictly on impulse without permitting sufficient opportunity to ponder the positives and negatives of making such a significantly large and perhaps lifelong purchase. As such, this practice ought to raise red flags in a prospective consumer’s receptor system, and regardless of which way that prospect may be leaning, to purchase or not, it would seem like putting on the brakes may be the most prudent decision one should make at that moment in time. After all, there’s nothing to prevent a prospective purchaser from saying ‘no thank you’, walking away, and then, from the safety and comfort of their residence immediately thereafter, start a ‘due diligence’ investigation into whether or not they do want to be a timeshare owner, and if said prospect ultimately determines that ‘yes, I do want to purchase a timeshare’, there should be no problem re-scheduling a sales presentation down the road for your timeshare of choice. One possible benefit to delaying a purchase from the resort itself, may be that that prospective purchaser will learn that he or she can purchase that same timeshare interest from a licensed real estate broker that has experience marketing timeshare interests, and typically for a sales price much lower than what the resort is charging. Although there are some pitfalls to watch for to make sure that the resort doesn’t add on any use restrictions to units purchased through real estate brokers or directly from former owners, normally the experienced broker will be aware of any restrictions and will guide one away from one of those restricted interests.
Timeshare Sales Trick #2 – Body Snatcher:
Another sales trick to be avoided, or at least to be aware of is if one happens to be solicited by a timeshare agent (affectionately sometimes referred to as a ‘body snatcher’) who is inducing you to attend a timeshare sales presentation by offering you ‘something for nothing’ such as free or discounted theme park tickets, or perhaps a free dinner for 2 just for attending a 90 minute presentation or a seminar (sometimes without full disclosure that the presentation is actually a timeshare sales presentation) in fact, it’s a reasonable certainty that that 90 minutes will last a minimum of 3 hours and sometimes much longer than that. For those that insist on departing after 90 minutes, they often are advised that they will sacrifice their reward by leaving prior to the end of the presentation. Indeed, if that 90-minute period isn’t reduced to a writing and placed in the hands of the prospect, obtaining that reward may well require remaining for the long haul. The unspoken psychological issue at play here, is that the longer one remains as a captive audience, the better chance the resort has of wearing one down to the point that the target’s ability to keep saying no is reduced over time to more a sense of just getting this process over and done with and agreeing to the purchase!
Timeshare Sales Trick #3 – License To Lie:
The third, and possibly the most important of the 3 sales tricks to be avoided, is knowing and understanding the salesperson’s motives in presenting all of the statements and ‘factual comments’ you’ve heard from he or she during your multi-hours’ long sales presentation. These well trained salespersons are nearly always independent contractors and straight commission-based salespersons, meaning they are rarely even resort employees, and more importantly completely commission driven, so that if you don’t end up signing a purchase contract, that salesperson receives no compensation for their time and effort expended while working with you. When you combine this fact with the additional fact that contained within your ‘to be executed timeshare purchase contract’ is a clause that essentially states that the purchaser solely and exclusively relied upon only what is contained within that preprinted contract itself, and therefore relied on nothing orally that was conveyed to them during the multi- hours long sales presentation, the salesperson’s own personal motivation becomes clearer. To be further noted is that the commission based salesperson is quite aware of both the existence of this clause (aptly nicknamed the salespersons ‘license to lie’ clause), and the additional practical knowledge that the prospect will undoubtedly be rushed through the closing process with no opportunity to even locate this particular clause in the purchase contact, let alone analyze any of the contract’s other content. Knowing of this content and accelerated closing process is the equivalent of a conspiratorial wink to the salesperson that whatever is said to make the deal, will undoubtedly come under the heading of an oral representation, which thereby could not, even if actually made, be relied upon by the hapless purchaser.
In summary, based upon all of the facts and circumstances existing in nearly every resort-based timeshare presentation, to be forewarned is to be forearmed!
Michael D. Finn is the founder of Finn Law Group and has been a practicing attorney for 50 years, working on behalf of consumers with real estate, timeshare and fractional ownership issues. In addition, the Finn Law Group’s focus includes assisting clients with Mortgage modifications, foreclosure defense and bankruptcy alternatives.