You go on vacation to relax and enjoy some much-needed time away. And, while seeing the sights you come across a visitor’s center. They offer free tickets or discounts on local attractions in exchange for attending a timeshare presentation. It’s only 90 minutes and before you know it, you’ve decided to go for the freebies. At this point, you might be wondering how to survive a timeshare presentation.
Some factors to consider before you attend a timeshare presentation, given the possible length of time you’ll be engaged in the resort tour, include:
- Whether or not your family is along, particularly if you’re traveling with younger children.
- Your level of comfort given the 3-5 hours involved in a typical timeshare presentation.
- Have you recently eaten? Do you suffer from low blood sugar?
- Are there other activities planned for the rest of the day or evening?
Forewarned is forearmed, and if you know what to expect going into a timeshare presentation, you’ll be more likely to survive it. Let’s break down the framework of a resort tour to give some insight into how timeshare presentations typically play out.
The timeshare greeter will likely start by building rapport and trying to get to know you. They are trained to ask about where you’re from, what brings you to the area, and how often you travel. All of these are basic discovery questions meant to help the next salesperson tailor their pitch to what they think they think will appeal to you. You might see a short movie and then after walking through some units on the property, sit down at a small table to talk about the timeshare vacation offerings. Sounds ok so far right?
Now comes the closer with a deal you would be foolish to say no to. But, that’s where the price drops start. And, there are several before that sales rep gets tapped out with let’s “Meet the Manager.” All of this is by design, a scripted and rehearsed program to get you in front of the boss. That person is trained to overcome any objection and they have the authority to help you decide on the spot. Similarly to car sales, the manager is going to ask…What’s it take to do a deal today? This is often referred to as the “Today Only” close.
These high-pressure tactics can be intense during a timeshare presentation, which is why it’s important to be prepared. Remember, you are not obligated to purchase a timeshare just because you sit through the presentation or for any other reason, including gifts or incentives to attend. If at any time you feel like you’re being pressured into making a decision, simply say that you need time to think about it and excuse yourself. The worst thing you can do is make a rash decision that you’ll regret later. We’ve recently talked about buyers’ regret in our timeshare blog and how to avoid it.
Here are a few tips:
Don’t go in alone. Take a friend or family member with you for moral support.
Be firm and assertive from the start. If you’re not interested, say so immediately.
Don’t be afraid to walk away, no matter how much pressure the salesperson puts on you.
Don’t sign anything on the spot. Always take the paperwork home with you to read over and research. A timeshare presentation may be a high-pressure situation, but if you approach it prepared, you can handle it. Remember to go at your own pace before making any decisions to purchase.
Moving on beyond the presentation…
If you did make a purchase, your next chance at “survival” is to be aware of a rescission period, which will range from 5-10 days if you act within that timeframe. You have a statutory rescission period in which you can cancel or revoke your purchase and receive a full refund of all money paid, depending on the state where you made your purchase.
This is your only opportunity to walk away from your timeshare purchase without any hassle. If you choose to terminate your interest after the expiration of the rescission period, you may well find yourself on a difficult road to travel.
Your Rights To Cancel Timeshare
If like many folks who buy a timeshare while on vacation, you do not read your purchase contract carefully immediately after your purchase, and assuming your resort did not bother to mention it, it is easy to miss your rescission date. Additionally, knowing exactly what is needed to comply with the rescission requirement as stated within your purchase contract is also extremely important!
The biggest mistake some consumers make is to attempt to orally rescind or cancel the timeshare via a phone call to the resort. You must provide the rescission notice in writing! In many cases, an address will be provided in the purchase contract as the required address to mail the notice to, and by design, it will not be the resort address.
Again, you are not likely to be aware of any of this unless you carefully read your purchase contract! The law does not require that the resort make rescission easy for you, only that they comply if you make the written request.
If you find yourself a timeshare owner and beyond your rescission period, your termination options are considerably more limited. They include attempting to re-market your interest, attempting to directly negotiate a termination with your developer, looking for a third party such as an “exit company”, or preferably a law firm with considerable experience in dealing with the timeshare industry.
Although my opinion is arguably biased, it seems the best argument for whom to hire, is to recognize that since you are attempting to extricate yourself from a legally binding written contract, it makes far more sense to hire a licensed experienced law firm skilled in contractual issues, than an unlicensed uncredentialed exit company. Furthermore, an experienced lawyer can significantly limit or eliminate debt collection calls and communications, as well as oversee proper accurate credit reporting, services not offered by exit companies.
Surviving a Timeshare Presentation Is Not Easy.
It may just be a question of mentally preparing yourself for an extended hard sell sales pitch designed to wear you down over an extended period, arming yourself with knowledge in advance about rescinding a purchase in a correct and timely manner, or perhaps determining the best course is avoiding the experience altogether. After all, if you do want to buy a timeshare, investigating and purchasing through a licensed real estate broker familiar with the timeshare secondary resale market at around a tenth or less of the developer’s price will avoid both the timeshare presentation itself and the retail cost of buying from the developer.
This article is for information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Always consult an attorney familiar with timeshare law for specific legal advice.
Led by Attorneys Michael D. Finn and J. Andrew Meyer with over 75 years of experience. The Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm specializing in timeshare-related issues. If you feel you need the advice of an attorney, we offer a free consultation in our office, over the phone, or by video. Follow us on Twitter to learn more about timeshare.