Attending a Timeshare Sales Pitch Just to Get a ‘Free Gift?
One of the most common tactics used by timeshare developers’ marketing teams is to offer a free gift to consumers who come and sit through a sales presentation.
Whether the advertising copy or spokesperson is offering a free vacation, a cutting-edge piece of technology, coupons and rewards, or even a cash incentive, this tactic can be a powerful lure for consumers of all backgrounds, whose ears tend to perk up at the mere mention of the word “free.”
Let’s draw a line in the sand and acknowledge that anything actually encouraging consumers to seek out that “free gift” from a timeshare sales pitch should be taken with two or three (or even four) grains of salt.
While it’s certainly possible to attend a sales pitch and walk away without purchasing anything, it’s important to realize that, when it comes to timeshare marketing presentations, the deck is truly stacked against the consumer in ways that might leave you stunned – and which could impact your lifestyle, your finances, and your credit for years and years to come.
What’s more, timeshare sales personnel often use techniques which are “unique to their product,” and are protected by the knowledge that they can fall back on one notorious contractual clause, which our office tends to call the salesperson’s “license to lie” clause.
The “license to lie” is a contractual clause in the purchase contract that, when signed and executed by the buyers, negates all oral representations made prior to and during the presentation, making only the written contract provision representations legally binding on the resort – meaning that the sales team can say absolutely anything and everything it takes to get their mark to close, with absolutely no repercussions.
Of course, this clause is buried in the veritable mountain of paperwork that is handed over to the buyers at closing, which, of course, must all be done at the same time and as hastily as possible, before the consumer has time to fully grasp the nuances of what it takes to rescind their purchase, or to read up on the enormity of their new financial commitment, which will include not only their initial payments, but also ongoing costs, chiefly in the form of assessments and (continually rising) maintenance fees.
The consumer will now find themselves saddled with an enormous financial burden, one that can be difficult to cancel, exit, resell, rent out, or even give away.
And, after all of this, we haven’t even begun to discuss that promised “free gift!” Well, at this point, you may be none-too-shocked to learn, consumer expectations often far exceed reality. Stories abound of gifts that fall well short of what was promised, and of consumers actually needing to pay money orders or activation fees in order to receive their supposedly free compensation.
So, at the end of the day, during your long drive back home, you may find your pockets lighter than ever – with not even a “free gift” to show for it. In the end, the best way to navigate a timeshare sales presentation is to do your research ahead of time, educate yourself on the many pitfalls of timeshare ownership and the resale market, and remember – as the old saying goes – “buyer beware!”
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.