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What We’re Reading – "Congratulations, Here’s a Free Gift. But First, a Timeshare Pitch"

What We're Reading - "Congratulations, Here's a Free Gift. But First, a Timeshare Pitch"

If you’re looking for a story that’s gripping, frustrating, amusing, and revelatory, all in one fell swoop, you should head over to the New York Times, which recently ran an insightful personal essay from the Associated Press.

Dubbed “Congratulations! Here’s a Free Gift. But First, a Timeshare Pitch,” the piece recounts a recent visit that one writer took to a resort presentation in Atlantic City.

While there, the reporter went on a psychological journey that will read as all-too-familiar to anyone with experience with the timeshare industry: She endured a multi-hour sales presentation, complete with numerous sales representatives, a last minute price reduction, and a so-called free gift that comes “with strings attached.”

Here’s a great look at what she went through:

“I started to get nervous. What if I got sucked in, hypnotized, drugged on the sea air? What if the salesman and my credit card got on the same wavelength and cut me out? We registered on a Saturday morning and were seated at a conference room table surrounded by dozens of other couples at tables, all of us getting the pitch.

Our salesman asked us about our family, travel desires, annual travel expenses, where we like to go, what we like to do on vacation and where we’d like to go next. “Argentina. Venice. The Carolinas,” we said.

If we bought a timeshare in Atlantic City, he said, we could exchange it for timeshares around the world. He showed us their exchange stock in those places, along with Jamaica, Hawaii, Paris.



More than two hours in, we were shown a one-bedroom suite that we’d be buying into. It had oceanfront views, a breezy balcony, marble countertops in the kitchenette and bathroom, king-sized bed and sofa bed.”

However, the straw that ultimately broke the camel’s back – and kept the writer from becoming entangled in a timeshare obligation – was simple: The price wasn’t right, and never would be.

As she explains:

“We were approaching three hours at the Flagship Resort when our salesman finally pulled out the numbers: The one-bedroom timeshare would cost more than $23,000. We’d get to use it just one week a year. Paid over seven years, that would come to about $400 a month plus annual fees of about $1,000. (According to Consumer Reports, fees have risen 5 percent annually on average since 2010.)”

Even after a price reduction of nearly $10,000 for an alleged timeshare “resale,” the writer and her partner passed.

Many do go on to sign on the dotted line, however, only to seek a way out of their obligation immediately (via rescission) or else at some point in the future, when the costs or the logistics of shared vacation ownership are no longer feasible. In both cases, many consumers are quick that getting out from under a timeshare contract is not nearly as simple as signing on in the first place.

In all, this a great ground-eye look at what actually goes on in timeshare sales presentations, and is worth a read for anyone interested in the industry, for better or worse.

For more incredible details, we encourage you to read the full narrative over at the New York Times or travel marketing site Skift.

Led by Attorney Michael D. Finn with 50 years of experience, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm specializing in timeshare law. Our lawyers understand vacation ownership as well as the many pitfalls of the secondary market of timeshare resales. If you feel you have been victimized by a timeshare company, contact our offices for a free consultation. Know your rights as a consumer and don’t hesitate to drop us a line with any questions or concerns. 

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