Listening to a timeshare offer can be a compelling experience when you’re blinded by possibilities. While timeshare vacations play out pleasantly for some travelers, making an informed decision is key. Unfortunately, far too many buyers don’t pay attention to the potential pitfalls in their pursuit of free vouchers or gifts. This leads to a number of reckless purchases that don’t need to occur. If you want to attend timeshare demonstrations and secure your free gift without buying anything until you can make an informed decision, then you’ll want to be prepared.
Last week, we started discussing a variety of questions to ask at these seminars to help you determine the legitimacy of the offer. Even though timeshare travel may seem pretty straightforward, it’s not. High dosages of misdirection and endless false promises are almost always leveraged to distract attendees during a timeshare sales presentation. It may seem like you’re in control of the situation, but one misunderstanding can carry you into a devastating financial spiral – if you’re not careful.
How to Get Answers and Your Free Gift Quickly.
In reality, there are never too many answers worth seeking during timeshare demonstrations. But the more you know before you go, the easier it’ll be to say, “No” if the purchase isn’t right for you. Receiving the gift that you show up for is almost never as easy as it may seem. All you have to do is read Maria’s story to see how deep the plot can go.
If you want to meet your objective and get in and out, then confidence is key. Timeshare sales pitches have proven to get people out of their comfort zone. Unless attendees know what they’re getting themselves into, they could find themselves on the other side of pressure and appeal. So let’s pick things back up with question 8.
8. Should I Have a Vague Understanding of the Contract?
The perfect prospect for timeshare sales teams is someone who will listen to and believe in everything that’s presented to them verbally. This is why first impressions (or every impression) is important to them. Those that excel at the trade often spend a lot of time building rapport in the first 90 minutes of the presentation. Gaining trust allows them to begin pushing offers that may intrigue their attendees.
At the end of the day, the job of timeshare salespeople is to build trust with you through a newfound friendship that is later used to seal the deal. In most cases, you’ll never see them again after the sale. Knowing this beforehand helps you skip the fluff and face the facts. Truth be told, no consumer should ever feel pressured to make an uninformed purchase of this magnitude in such a short period of time.
So when you feel rushed at timeshare demonstrations, simply ask, “shouldn’t I know more about the contract?” The next move of the sales rep should tell you all that you need to know. They’ll either listen or deflect your concern. In most cases asking to review the physical contract itself is not going to be something they’ll want to do.
If you are able to review the terms, question everything about onerous language and make sure all guarantees are in writing. But if you’re unable to look over the agreement (or the language is vague), then how will you know certain destinations, resorts and time periods will be available?
9. Can I Get More Info on 3rd Party Exchanges?
Ironically, the more that people learn about the timeshare product, the less likely they are to buy. This is why timeshare demonstrations gloss over the fine print details of the benefits and perks of their packages. Oftentimes, attendees are given this idea that they can easily exchange their purchase if it doesn’t work out. This process is usually presented as a simple trade that benefits the buyer with endless options to travel to.
But this is simply not true. In fact, most exchange programs are rather complicated and tack on additional costs in the hundreds. Not only does it cost time and money to process an exchange, but inventory will likely only be equivalent to your ownership level or value.
If you own a low level membership or undesirable resort week, don’t expect to have access to Hawaii during peak season. This is why it’s important to ask about the cost of the timeshare’s third party exchange company and what’s required to gain more access. Sadly, many buyers find themselves trading for downgrades and no way to escape the almost always perpetual agreement.
10. How Much Interest Will I Pay on the Loan?
Over the past few months, we’ve covered a lot on the financial aspect of timeshare ownership and the reality of loans – most of which can be avoided with a few questions during timeshare demonstrations. For example, asking how much a new owner could “pay in interest at maturity of the mortgage financed” will definitely get you some interesting answers. At the same time, you have to be prepared to know what a good answer is.
One of the best things you can do is try to determine if the interest will be more than the principal financed. The best question you can ask is if the total financial commitment (with interest) is double the sales price. Most sales organizations aren’t fans of straight shooters and this will be difficult for them to deny. Do the math yourself by dividing the sales price (1 week interval) by a ten year term and add on the annual maintenance fees to see the financial commitment at maturity.
If you really want to make timeshare demonstrations entertaining, ask the representatives if their product is financially feasible compared to alternative travel methods? ARe they willing to show the inventory they push out to cash paying customers through sites like Expedia and Priceline? How does that number match up to the maturity figure you did the match on above? Unless they can prove this to you or trump your math in writing then it may be best you secure your free gift and get out of dodge.
11. What Do I Actually Own When I Buy a Timeshare?
Like we’ve mentioned in an array of past articles, vacation ownership is not an investment. Most owners have no chance of reselling their week because better options are almost always available and the timeshare resale market is basically nonexistent. Timeshares should be sold for the vacation experience not for the intent to make a profit through resale or renting.
Unfortunately, timeshare demonstrations oftentimes give off the impression that new buyers will have the ability to profit off the purchase. When a salesman tells you that the purchase is an investment and that you’ll own beneficial interest, challenge them. Ask if the contract will force you to assign the interest into a trust account that they own. In most cases, they’re not going to want to divulge. This may tell you all you need to know about the sales presentation.
12. How Are Unexpected Liabilities Handled?
The Coronavirus has altered travel throughout the world. So if you’re planning on attending a few timeshare demonstrations when restrictions are lowered, make it a priority to ask about owner liability expenses. Before moving forward with anything past the initial 90 minutes, you should know how these are dispersed to owners during natural disasters, renovations, pandemics, acquisitions and other relative events.
Ask them how much owners are expected to cover and what portion the timeshare itself pays for. Vague language should be questioned and all promises need to be in writing.
13. Can I Take Some Time to Think About the Purchase?
While this is often a routine response to pressure filled sales tactics, it’s rarely taken seriously by sales teams. Timeshare demonstrations are built to talk consumers out of standard buying procedures. There are endless limited-time, last-minute offers to keep them engaged. This is why you have to be firm about “thinking things through.” One of the best ways to get your point across is to communicate that you do not sign agreements without first seeking your attorney’s advice.
14. What Other Travel Expenses Are Covered?
Believe it or not, many timeshare buyers believe the entirety of their trip is included in their package. Aside from overlooking interest and annual fees, they forget about the cost of transportation, entertainment, food and other travel expenses. Consequently, oftentimes they find themselves in a perpetual agreement they can’t afford. While many fault the consumer for these types of decisions, they don’t deserve all of the blame.
This is why we’ve made a significant effort to educate people on the reality of timeshare demonstrations. Sometimes, simple questions about expectations, accommodations and the definition of “all-inclusive” can be eye opening for attendees. Assuming the best can certainly bring out the worst in these types of scenarios.