Timeshare: A Today Only Business
There are a lot of unknowns about timeshare. Unlike most products or services that people buy, timeshares are a sold product and, they are sold on a “Today Only” basis. It’s been reported by some developers, that 99% of all new timeshare sales are closed on the same day of a timeshare tour.
What does this mean for the consumer?
It means that if you are interested in buying a timeshare, you have to make a lifetime decision on the spot. There is no going home to think about it, no time to review the contract carefully or do any research online. For any other major purchase, this is just not common.
So, what is the driving force behind this “Today Only” mentality?
The answer to that question is twofold. First, timeshare tours are typically high-pressure sales presentations, designed to get buyers to sign on the dotted line. Timeshare sales are commissioned based and reps are paid on “Volume Per Guest” or VPG. Secondly, timeshare prices start off inflated at the beginning of a sales tour, which is designed to make it seem as if buyers are getting a great deal through a series of price drops. These offers are not always genuine. The salesperson may also make verbal representations on usage and other buyer incentives that may never materialize if not contained in the agreement.
The problem with this way of doing business is that it can be very coercive and misleading. In some cases, people have felt pressured into making a purchase they weren’t prepared to make. Worse yet, others have been scammed out of their money after being convinced to buy a timeshare during a “Today Only” sale.
So why do people buy timeshares? There are likely a few reasons, but one of the most common is that they are attracted to the artificial value created in the “Today Only” pricing. Timeshare developers use this sales tactic as a way to induce owners into purchasing a timeshare on the spot. They know that if people have the opportunity to walk away and think about it, they may not come back to buy.
Timeshare developers spend a lot of money on marketing and sales to potential consumers. These costs easily exceed 50% of the total costs of a timeshare development. With stiff competition between developers to get new tours to their resorts, timeshare is a “Today Only” business in major tourism areas.
In order to make a sale today, timeshare developers can be quite aggressive. They have to make today’s tour the best it can be. In a typical multi-step sales presentation, the sales manager will be brought in to give the final “Today Only” deal. The big offer typically expires if you walk out the door, but in reality the longer the tour, the more pressure there is to buy.
If you are considering buying a timeshare, it’s important to remember that a vacation ownership is a lifetime commitment and should not be entered into lightly. If the deal seems to good to be true, you should research the offer thoroughly. Ask the manager for written documentation of the price, along with time to review any additional benefits of the “Today Only” offer.
Consumers should always read any timeshare agreements and other related documents carefully to understand their rights before signing anything. If you feel pressured or don’t have enough time to think about the purchase, there’s always tomorrow.
The Finn Law Group is a Consumer Protection Law Firm that specializes in timeshare cancellation. Led by Michael D. Finn and J. Andrew Meyer with over 75 years of experience in consumer law. The firm offers free consultations, including contract reviews. Contact the law firm at 727-214-0700.