During June and July of this year, we spent a lot of time discussing the lure of timeshare presentations and how consumers are worn down by them. While an initial “free gift” usually carries a lot of intrigue throughout the sales process, there are a number of ways timeshare reps manipulate information in order to persuade. Since we’ve written so many articles on the topic, we thought it would be helpful to publish one article with a compilation of all the lies timeshare organizations spew.
Before you consider buying into vacation ownership, we encourage you to skim through some of these tactics. If you happen to be on your way to a presentation right now, then you’ve probably been told a lie or two already – that’s if you’ve even been told much at all. Going into one of these “opportunities” blind is risky. Most believe 90 minutes is worth the prize while some aren’t even aware there’s a sales presentation.
Timeshare companies want people to think they can show up, wait patiently, receive a free reward and move on with their day. It’s why they tell people things like “you don’t have to buy anything” or “you can walk away at any time” in order to coralle prospects. In reality, their goal is to find your weak points and convince you to buy a timeshare in under 90 minutes. Whether the pitch includes a “deal of a lifetime” or the promise to “cancel at any time”, the lies timeshare organizations spew to keep you engaged are endless.
1. Lies Timeshare Organizations Spew About Financing.
One of the most untruthful things that timeshare companies promote is that their product is affordable. The entirety of the cost (with interest, maintenance fees, taxes and other travel expenses) can be double or triple that of a retail vacation. While it’s presented as some sort of special getaway that no one has access to, it’s normally a unit at a location most retail travelers don’t want to reserve.
It’s kind of like selling snow to an Eskimo. Nobody actually needs binding payments to go on an affordable vacation. Aside from the lies timeshare organizations spew about product value, vacation properties almost always have zero resale value. Because of this, banks will not refinance the purchase. Many sales teams will tell you that standard interest rates can be refinanced shortly after the purchase but this is not true. Most buyers find themselves at a rate of 17.9% or higher.
Additional Lies that Encourage Bad Financial Decisions.
Many vacation owners balk at the cost of the timeshare once they see what they’re receiving in return. But the binding agreement usually holds them captive. In turn, most buyers immediately look for ways to eliminate fees or make the product worthwhile. Sadly, discussions with “customer service” teams simply expose them to additional lies that make matters worse.
Many are told they can alleviate the expense by paying off the loan faster or upgrade their packages to receive more. But when you think about it, how is this helpful when the consumer was initially told something else? The more lies that buyers fall for regarding financing, the more financially trapped they become in the purchase.
2. The Buy Back & Resale Lies of Timeshare Organizations.
Besides the lies about anytime cancellations, many timeshares also promote the mirage of buy back programs. If at some point you were to decide that the product is not for you, then you can just request to “sell back.” In reality, those that end up inquiring about this service are usually met with a response like, “we’re still working on this program.”
Even if the option is established, owners are oftentimes disqualified for one reason or another. Even those that pay off their mortgage in order to qualify for relief are often met by further conditions or simply referred to a listing company. This can be one of the most devastating lies timeshare organizations spew because many people can’t afford the purchase. Once they’re under contract, paying for it becomes an obligation and not always the choice they were expecting.
Timeshares Almost Never Hold Resale Value.
Another way timeshare sales teams mislead consumers is by positioning the product as an investment when it is not. It’s not a home and you’ll never be in an equitable position. Timeshares are actually one of the fastest depreciating products in the marketplace today. This lie leads people to believe they can make money on the property if they’re unable to use it themselves or it “doesn’t work out.” In the end, many incur additional costs by listing their weekly interval on platforms with no buyer interest.
There’s a reason why. If you research timeshare resale, you’ll find they are listing for $1 on eBay with no bids. Some even offer a $500 gift card and future dues paid in advance. Why spend $40K for something you may never use, to then pay additional money for a listing advertisement in an attempt to sell for $1, to simply get rid of a timeshare. Moreover, how do timeshare organizations sleep at night when they blatantly lie to people about this? Some even have internal resale services that work with them to keep buyers under contract. Even if a sale is validated, owners almost always have to rely on the timeshare for the transfer.
The Timeshare Transfer Itself is Misleading.
In order to process the transaction, owners are required to remain in good standing on payments throughout the listing and transfer process. The lies sales reps spew about how timeshares are “easily” resold couldn’t be further from the truth. Oftentimes, the timeshare organizations charge large transfer fees to approve the transfer, sometimes in the thousands.
This makes it more difficult for those already facing financial hardship due to the timeshare creating a financial burden on their finances due to rising fees and special assessment costs. At the end of the day, why spend a lot of money on an unproven possibility that might make you a little money? That doesn’t even make sense.
If you feel as though your timeshare will be appealing because the presentation persuaded you it was, guess again. Sales teams will tell you there is a high demand for them but why do they have to lure people to presentations if this is true? As a seller, will you be able to do tours and match their spiel? They may tell you that your points have value but the market price will never match the sales tag. The fact that timeshare developers rarely take back vacation interest contracts should be telling.
3. Lies About Timeshare Inventory and Booking.
Since we’ve covered a lot of the lies timeshare organizations tell about available dates, resorts and locations, we won’t go into much detail. But promises regarding booking your timeshare should always be taken as a grain of salt. There is usually a secondary action (purchase or condition) required in order to obtain an access level to the presented vacation inventory. Timeshare companies know consumers are apt to be at their mercy when they realize the vacation they thought they bought is not available.
Exchanging Timeshare Packages Is Not a Good Solution.
Another lie that’s common is that owners can easily transfer or exchange their timeshare internally if it doesn’t “work out.” But similar to a resale transaction, it is not a simple “in-house” process. In most cases, buyers are referred to another company with an additional membership fee of $124-$228 annually plus another $179 – $230 per exchange through Interval International, RCI or similar. Oftentimes new owners are led to believe they can exchange for prime inventory, in reality they can only exchange for equivalent inventory at the level they purchased into.
You can’t swap access to a resort in Yuma for a vacation package in Hawaii. While it might be presented that way, it’s important that you see the pattern here. Hundreds of thousands of vacation owners have been lied to about resort access, booking options and their ability to rollover unused timeshare points without resolve and additional money lost. Many sales podiums falsify the value of points leading unsuspecting buyers to believe that they can access any desired vacation. It’s almost never a possibility, it’s a popular misrepresentation used to sell. Again, read the terms.
Many of our clients confirm they were sold specific inventory that was never available. Some admit, after a decade of ownership, that they’ve never even been able to use the product. For years now, it’s been proven that the system is extremely misleading and difficult to use. Yet for some reason, the lies timeshare organizations spew about available inventory goes unnoticed by society – until they experience it for themselves.
Dishonesty Regarding a Major Purchase is Wrong.
As we continue to dissect the timeshare industry to better equip consumers in general, we’d love your feedback. There are so many different things that major organizations lie about to turn a profit. At the end of the day, we believe in establishing and promoting quality solutions that better society as a whole. Although our industry makes it extremely difficult to identify truth, we’ll continue to put our best foot forward.
In the meantime, stay tuned for next week’s article where we’ll go into more details about the lies timeshare organizations spew on a regular basis. Now that the world is at a standstill, we hope timeshare owners take the time to educate themselves on real possibilities about their future. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about our cancellation process, you can always schedule a free consultation or proceed with the qualification form below.