Timeshare presentations have earned an infamous reputation as intense, high-pressure sales scenarios, capable of wearing down even the most hardened consumer into making a costly purchase, one that could leave them with a damaged credit score or saddled with a lifetime of ever-increasing maintenance fees.
With that in mind, many consumers are eager to avoid entering these high-pressure situations in the first place. Is it possible to spot a timeshare sales pitch from the advertisement or offer? Here are four warning signs that the offer in your hands – whether it’s from a postcard, a brochure from a resort, or even a Google hit for “cheap vacations” – may turn into a timeshare sales pitch:
1.) You’re Being Pitched While On Vacation
There’s a reason so many of us love taking vacations: They make us feel great! It’s rejuvenating to take in new sights and sounds, to unwind away from the troubles of the everyday.
In the industry, this is what’s thought of as the “vacation feeling,” and it’s a big boon to timeshare marketers eager to take advantage of your good mood. You’re feeling relaxed and your defenses are down, making it easier for salespeople to swoop in and sell you on the “intoxicating” idea of “owning a little slice of heaven – or getting deep discounts on future trips,” as Calvin Hennick puts it over at SmarterTravel.
2.) You Fit the Profile
While timeshare owners are as diverse a group of human beings as you’ll find anywhere, timeshare sales presentations tend to be pitched at certain types of travelers. In our experience, this includes seniors and young newlyweds – both groups with disposable income and an incentive to travel.
3.) You’re Being Offered a Free Gift
The “special offer” or “free gift” is one of the most common – and, perhaps, notorious – tactics in the timeshare marketing arsenal. For simply attending a 90-minute sales presentation, you will be eligible to receive a free dinner, free tickets to a show, perhaps even cash money.
And, of course, once the lure of the special offer draws you in, you’ll be subjected to one of the most grueling and high-pressure sales scenarios imaginable.
4.) You Can’t Quite Figure Out the Language
Timeshare marketing is often deliberately vague and chock-full of hard-to-verify promises.
And be wary of language in advertisements that promises undeliverables, such as “free,” “perfect,” or “always.” These are buzzwords with no practical value when it comes to travel, vacations, or real estate.
As with all things relating to the travel and vacation industries, education and vigilance are paramount. Taking the time to read up on the industry’s history, best practices, and standards could make all the difference; if you have any doubts about the resort company or group soliciting you, we encourage you to research them with the BBB, as well as your state’s Attorney General and consumer protection agencies, before making any sort of commitment.
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.