Have you ever heard the phrase “there’s no such thing as a free lunch?” Well, it goes doubly true for timeshare purchasers – to the point where you could say that “a free dinner can cost you a fortune,” as financial planner David Gardner recently pointed out in a column for the Boulder DailyCamera.
When he talks about a “free dinner,” Gardner is referring to something quite literal; namely, he’s talking about the common practice of offering a meal, a discounted trip, or some other extravagant perk to get consumers into the door to listen to a sales presentation from a resort developer.
We’ve discussed the so-called “free” gift aspect to the timeshare hard sell in some depth before, noting that it’s not uncommon for that present to come with its own set of strings attached – to say nothing of the timeshare interest that many consumers will walk away with after what turns out to a grueling, five- or six-hour sales pitch, rather than the simple mealtime seminar they may have been initially promised in their advertising materials.
As Gardner himself points out, timeshares are not inherently “bad products,” but they do come with some major strings, of which consumers should be aware before they sign on the dotted line.
Specifically, Gardner explains reminds would-be sales attendees to:
“Just remember that once you pay for a timeshare, after a cooling off period you can’t get your money back. In fact it can be hard to even give away a timeshare, as potential recipients do not want to be liable for the annual fees that go up every year.”
We’ve broken down these matters – namely, the inadequate statutory protections in place for timeshare consumers, the stunning lack of resale or aftermarket value, and the ever-increasing costs of maintenance fees – before, and we encourage you to read more about these and other issues in our Learning Center, available here.
The bottom line is that it’s vital that you arm yourself with as much information as possible about timeshares, resort developers, rescission periods, and the psychological tactics of industry salespeople before you ever accept that offer of the free dinner or seek out that free gift.
For now, we’ll let Gardner have the last word:
“The common thread with all of these traps is that you can’t easily get your money back without spending considerable time and money. Use that test first when evaluating a new investment idea, particularly if sold when you have a glass of wine in your hand.”
You can read his entire article here, courtesy of the DailyCamera.
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.