We’ve used this space to talk about the way that timeshare developers market and sell their wares before, but there’s one topic that we haven’t yet really addressed in depth: timeshare sales presentations.
As a rule, our clients typically turn to us for help after they’ve entered into a timeshare contract, seeking us out for timeshare cancellation by means of direct resort negotiation, state and regulatory filings, and litigation, having already realized that the nearly non-existent timeshare re-sale market makes timeshare transfer extremely difficult.
Timeshare industry expert Lisa Ann Schreier, on the other hand, has plenty of hands-on experience with all elements of the timeshare buying and exchange process, from beginning to end. Also known as “The Timeshare Crusader,” Lisa is the founder of Timeshare Insights and a successful author with a wealth of industry knowledge that she dispenses at her blog, The Word From the Timeshare Crusader.
Earlier this year, Lisa penned an excellent blog post, “Everything You Need to Know About Timeshare Sales Presentations.” Let’s take a look at some of her more incisive points for consumers to know before they unwittingly walk into a high pressure sales situation:
1.) The Bottom Line: They’re Sales Presentations
As Lisa puts it, no matter what the pitch is called – be it “Owners Updates,” “Vacation Survey,” or “Informative Resort Overview” – the bottom line is that “they’re sales presentations with the sole purpose of selling you” one “or more” timeshares.
Often, timeshare sales presentations lure in consumers with the promise of tantalizing gifts, including discounted trips, event tickets, or even cash money. As Lisa explains (emphasis added):
“Unless you accepted the “gift” in terms of a discounted stay, cash, tickets or anything else, you are not required to attend whatever they’re calling it. If you do accept the stuff, then don’t act surprised or get belligerent when you find out that the salesperson is asking you to buy something.”
Which brings us to another key thing to bear in mind! Never forget that it’s vital to…
2.) Do Your Research
“Google is your friend,” Lisa writes. In addition to turning to the web, keep in mind all of the other resources at your disposal, including researching with administrations, agencies, and services like the Better Business Bureau, the FTC, or your state’s Attorney General.
Research the resort developer before the sales presentation. While you’re at the meeting, no matter how sales people pressure you, Lisa encourages always getting “full and complete answers” on maintenance fees, special assessments, occupancy and delinquency rates, and homeowners’ associations.
In addition, Schreier recommends always thoroughly making sure that you understand your rescission rights, and that you read the fine print, writing:
“Yeah, we know that the documents are very long and typed in very small print. Read them anyway. All of them. And remember that no matter what the salesperson told you, if it is NOT in the documents, you shouldn’t pay attention to it because the written documents are the only things that matter.”
And when you’re poring over that fine print and taking in the sales pitch, remember…
3.) If It Sounds Too Good To Be True…
What’s the old saying? “If it sounds too good to be true,” Lisa says, “then it probably is.” Approach any offers with a healthy dose of skepticism and a willingness to research or talk to an expert about any claims you find dubious.
And there are sales buzzwords that Lisa encourages looking out for, including “free,” “perfect,” “always,” and “never.” As she elegantly puts it, “free and perfect don’t exist and always and never are exceedingly long periods of time.”
For more, we encourage you to read the full blog post over at Lisa’s site.
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.