Nearly every person that attends a timeshare seminar has been incentivised to do so. Whether they eagerly arrive for a free vacation or a simple voucher, most aren’t exactly interested in purchasing a vacation package for tens of thousands of dollars. But it has been proven that uninformed consumers are easier to persuade. So if you’re going to show up at a timeshare seminar to quickly obtain free gifts, then you have to be prepared to have your mission sidetracked a few times.
Although your attendance may appear to be a simple exchange, the aggressive nature of the sales pitch can create an unexpected mirage of intrigue. For some, the appeal is too convincing to pass up. We know this because we talk to vacation owners every day. Those that understand the product – and what’s being thrown at them during the sale – typically endure with ease. While it may sound silly, preparing for the pitch will help you see past deceptive ploys and avoid potential pitfalls so that you can make an informed decision about the offer.
15 Questions to Cut a Timeshare Seminar Short.
Before disembarking on your timeshare presentation exchange, we encourage you to ask yourself a few questions: Would you sporadically purchase a boat, car or even an ATV you didn’t need and knew nothing about? How about a $20K travel trailer you can’t haul or store? Truth be told, most of us wouldn’t even spend $500 on a shed that’s needed if we weren’t able to inspect repairs, talk to the previous owner and cross reference the value.
So why is it that so many consumers fall for the timeshare trap even when the outcome could be potentially devastating – emotionally and financially for an uninformed buyer? The answer is simple. Oftentimes a high-pressured, misleading sale may convince people that they need and want a timeshare. Now that we’ve covered most of the lies timeshare sales reps tell, we decided to start helping consumers qualify the purchase for themselves. So without further adieu, here are 15 effective questions to ask during a timeshare seminar.
1. Question the Gift Before Committing.
Aside from some of the things you can ask yourself beforehand, there are ways to confirm if the interaction will be fruitful or not before you attend. First and foremost, call and ask for the terms of the gift or promised incentive in writing. Inquire about any further requirements on your behalf other than a 90 minute demonstration. Will you be asked to provide additional details or personal information? This will most certainly help you avoid uncomfortable, vulnerable situations.
If you’re able to confirm anything to protect yourself at a timeshare seminar then you have to weigh the outcomes. Is a $75 dinner-voucher or 1 night of fun worth a 90 minute high-pressure sales presentation? If you have an interest in timeshare ownership it may be worth it to you. If you prefer to utilize alternative methods to fulfill your travel needs, then it may not be worth your time.
Also, you may want to review the state’s statutes for truth in advertising laws (or similar), to ensure everything has been disclosed properly and that you understand your rights in collecting on the incentive offered. If you find inaccuracies, then this may be a telling sign of an unfavorable experience to come. You may determine that the $75-$100 value is not worth your time and choose to simply enjoy your vacation, presentation free.
2. Ask Sales Teams to Pull Up Retail Rates.
Picking up on the tactics of a misleading timeshare sale is difficult for most. But the little nuances should always raise red flags. Timeshares should be sold for the value of vacations experienced, not for financial gain. One of the easiest ways to determine timeshare affordability is to compare rates and total costs side-by-side.
If asked, your sales rep may deflect the request. Some have even been known to act as if the internet stopped working to avoid the comparison entirely. While it may seem like happenstance, be careful what you assume. If you can’t cross-reference the value and prove that it’s a “great deal” then you may want to just get your free gift and walk away.
3. Request Buyer Feedback Outside of Presentation.
During a timeshare seminar, most everything is mapped out and predesigned. If a consumer were to truly consider the track record of the industry’s sales and marketing tactics, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to assume presented video testimonials may be fabricated. Since we prefer not to make accusations, one of the best things attendees can ask for is access to a current owner. This would allow them to question a number of things about the offer and ownership experience overall.
There is no better person to ask about timeshare benefits, availability and cost than someone currently under contract. If the timeshare seminar claims you can resell or rent your week for profit, finding an owner that can verify this is imperative. If a sales team refuses to let this happen, then it should concern you and signal that it’s time to get your free incentive and leave.
4. Ask Them to Prove Resale Market Value.
One of the most deceitful ways timeshare sales reps close deals is by convincing people they can make money off the property. While speaking to another owner easily clarifies this claim, asking sales teams to pull up data is just as effective. Timeshares are liabilities and not investment properties or assets, therefore should not be sold as such. All you have to do is ask a sales rep to pull up sales prices for timeshares on eBay or Craigslist. Thousands of people are looking to get rid of them for $0.01, oftentimes with no bids.
First off, why would you purchase one from them when a similar, if not the same unit is listed in the classifieds? This should make you question everything about the timeshare seminar. Secondly, why are owners so desperate to get out of the contract? Ask them to explain this and how you can expect to make money by buying one for more. Continued pressure here is a good way to determine the true value of the offer or if you should opt to get your free gift and go home.
5. Thoroughly Question The Trial Period.
Many new timeshare owners have no idea they may only have a few days to cancel the purchase and escape perpetual payments. Consumers may not be aware of the term “rescission period”. While this should be pointed out in the purchase agreement, a timeshare sales rep may omit this information or make it difficult to access (such as a tablet that doesn’t turn on).
Every state is different so no salesman should gloss over these things. If buyers knew they’d have to cancel within days, many may pass on the fractional ownership offer altogether until they can make a sound decision on a large financial commitment.
6. Ask About Your Ability to Cancel.
When you’re excited about vacation ownership, it’s awfully difficult to ponder potential regret. But just like any large purchase, it needs to be a thoughtful one. Hardships occur in life and – with a commitment like this – you have to have a contingency. Despite the blinding euphoria, consumers need to ask about their ability to escape the binding agreement if something were to arise.
Taking the time to pry here will most certainly help you realize what realistic relief options at your disposal. A timeshare seminar may try to tell you they have internal solutions that benefit owners, but unless you’re able to confirm free and clear cancellation in your agreement, it may not be a good bet. Pointing out a potential lack of favorable future cancellation terms during the presentation may help you depart quickly – and possibly be ushered out the door.
7. Request Ownership Data to Confirm Potential.
For the most part, a deep level of discernment is required to determine the true value of a timeshare. This is something most consumers aren’t equipped with because valuations aren’t a part of everyday vocabularies. But it doesn’t mean you should buy into the seller’s valuation. In fact, you should request it in writing so you can better understand its worth. Ask what it equates to in usage and what factors played into their pricing.
You can also ask them to go over daily availability expectations and previous changes that have impacted owners in the past. Data that shows how many owners sign up, how long they remain under contract and the percentage of defaults can provide you with an immense amount of insight into the company’s stability and how it may impact existing owner’s cost, experience, availability and similar. That is, if you’re able to get your hands on the data.
8. Ask About Online Customers Reviews.
If you’re planning on going to a timeshare seminar, then why wouldn’t you research the presenter? While the free gift can seem nice, you have to know there’s some sort of catch. Inspecting BBB reviews and preparing to ask questions about them will really help you paint a clear picture of the company’s reputation to determine if you feel good about them or not. In reality, nearly every single one of these questions can be supported by a real experience found in an online review.
We’ll Keep the Timeshare Seminar Questions Coming.
Not every vacation owner regrets their purchase, but oftentimes owners wish they would have been better informed beforehand. Buying a timeshare is a big decision and should never be taken lightly. If you have some questions that have worked for you, feel free to leave some in the comment section. In the meantime, stay tuned for the remainder of our list next week!
Also, ask the salesmen:
Are you a licensed real estate agent in the state of (WHICHEVER STATE THE TIMESHARE IS LOCATED IN)?