Two More Travel Destinations Ruined by Timeshare Developers.

Two More Travel Destinations Ruined by Timeshare Developers.

In the United States alone, there are thousands of captivating landscapes that are easily accessible by timeshares and hotels. While some areas of the country (like the Grand Canyon) are fairly well preserved, nearly every corner of our country’s natural beauty has been exposed by the travel industry. But there was a time before tourism dominated port cities and mountain peaks. Like we pointed out in last week’s article, settling the land and sustaining a town was required before any real plans could be made. Even so, most travel destinations weren’t even founded on the concept of tourism. 

In the years of exploration, towns either thrived on their own or wealthy businessmen were needed to turn fortunes around. Failure in attractive places provided successful people with opportunities to shape the landscape into money-making havens. One could even say the foundation of hospitality was based on mistakes and others’ ability to capitalize on them. Turning the great outdoors into astonishing indoor attractions was the goal of many. Nonetheless, by the time vacation ownership was an option in the late 1960’s, many U.S. cities had already been primed for the product.

More History On Today’s Hot Travel Destinations.

We decided to cover this topic because we believe it provides consumers with a healthy amount of insight on the motives of the timeshare industry. Today, each of the following locations are known to be littered with timeshare companies vying for consumer attention. For the most part, this occurred because  prime real estate is usually always sold to the highest bidder with the best economic plan. By the time hospitality dominated the marketplace, there was no looking back.

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3. The Inland Peninsula of Orlando, Florida.

As one of America’s favorite travel destinations, Orlando, Florida, now boasts a magical kingdom and plethora of resorts made especially for kids and families. But it wasn’t always this pleasant and enjoyable. After taking over the land occupied by the Seminole Indians in 1838, American settlers leveraged the terrain to build a fortress (Fort Gatlin). This helped them better protect women and children while alleviating local attacks. As beautiful as Orlando is today, it’s hard to believe the region was once filled with conflict, fear and greed. 

Nonetheless, the battle for owners’ rights against Native Americans in the southeast peninsula was short lived. Technology, weaponry and brute force didn’t give them much of a chance to defend their territory. By the time the 1840’s rolled in, the dust began to settle and a small town named “Jernigan” (named after one of the first families) emerged. Within a decade, they began moving away from the walls of the fort and even established the community’s first post office. By 1875, nearly 100 people resided in the area and the name was changed to “Orlando.”

DISCOVERED PERKS IN THE CLIMATE OF CENTRAL FLORIDA.

Before Disney, Epcot, Universal Studios, swamp tours and parasailing, the city was flooded with opportunity and ambition. Over the next 20 years, Orlando’s population grew tremendously. Not only was it said to be one of the most peaceful places to live during The Civil War (not confirmed), but it was the perfect place to plant and harvest a bountiful citrus crop. To this day, Orlando is still atop this agricultural market and many families have lived well off the land. Even “The Great Freeze” of 1894-95 didn’t slow down production as it provided more opportunities for wealthy groups to thrive.

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RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT BEGINS.

In the 1920’s. the American economy began to take off and the city’s real estate prices roared. Like we mentioned before, this allowed Orlando to lean on some of the country’s premier developers to establish hospitable appeal in central Florida. Housing hit its peak and the famous San Juan Hotel was constructed during this time. Until tourism turned Orlando into a legitimate travel destination, most residents made a living at Kennedy Space Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station or the orchards.

Shortly after the foundation of the city was stabilized, Walt Disney announced his plan to build a mega-theme park in the area – which led to a tsunami-like wave of timeshare resorts and other tourist attractions. Today, you can’t even walk around Orlando without being bombarded by sales pitches and deals. While Disney World and other resorts have allowed the city to make a lot of money for a long time, travelers will never find the peace, tranquility and lemonade that was once found in Jernigan.

4. South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head.

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In comparison to some of the other popular travel destinations across the globe, this stretch of land is a lot more open and relaxed. While Myrtle Beach does have a strip for entertainment and food, most of the region is full of quiet, natural beaches and golf courses that let tourists unwind for a week or two. If you travel south on the 95 for a few hours to the Hilton Head, you’ll pass hundreds of restful areas worth taking in. 

Despite the zen appeal of today, the South Carolina coastline didn’t initially attract part time visitors. The land wasn’t exactly easy to live on and a number of factors made life difficult for early settlers. Marshes, Indians, Diseases and Pirates were all said to make the early years strenuous. In order to settle, a plan and level of dedication was required. The Waccamaw River, abundance of timber and ability to produce rice became a crucial element of success, giving the town a little momentum by the 1900’s.

HOW DID HOSPITALITY GET ITS START IN SOUTH CAROLINA?

Although the economy was still struggling through its infant stages, the first hotel (Seaside Inn) was built in 1901 by the Burroughs & Collins Company. Shortly after, the company also played a role in naming the city. The widow of of Franklin G. Burroughs came up with “Myrtle Beach” after the wealth of wax myrtle trees growing wild along the shoreline. Over the next 20 years, the community started to experience a large influx in development that started with the erection of an upscale resort called The Arcady

By the roaring 1920’s, the Grand Strands of beaches had its first golf resort, Pine Lakes International Country Club and Ocean Forrest Hotel. From this point on, nearly everything was constructed with tourism in mind. Waterways were stretched inland to create even more appeal while expanding guest possibilities. Improved commercial shipping gave new companies like Sports Illustrated an ability to thrive in Myrtle Beach. Once the city was incorporated in 1938, the pavilion, carousel, historic band organ and Air Force base popped up quickly. At this point, the city began its transformation into one of the most popular travel destinations in the world.

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WHAT CHANGED SOUTH CAROLINA’S GROWTH TRAJECTORY?

In 1954, Hurricane Hazel changed everything. While Myrtle Beach didn’t exactly “fail” and it wasn’t totally destroyed, a “reset” button was necessary. This is where golf attractions began gaining traction. Ever since the 60’s, a golf course has been built almost every year in the area (There are about 115 available courses today). During the rejuvenation efforts of the 1970’s, improved amenities, attractions and retail centers took root. As the population tripled, more than $75 million was invested into new construction. 

Today, the Grand Strand from Myrtle Beach down to the Hilton Head welcomes more than 14 million tourists per year. Between 2016-2018, Myrtle Beach was the #2 fastest growing cities in the U.S. and continues to grow to this day. But how long can they sustain growth and preserve the relaxation? The Hilton Head is one of the most gorgeous places in the area and it’s littered with American corporations and timeshares. Is it only a matter of time before South Carolina is in the same boat as Florida? Let’s hope not.

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Travel Destinations Will Always Exist.

People that can’t afford to purchase a luxury home in a lavish location will always crave for an ability to visit one. No matter how you feel about the travel industry, there will always be money to be made. Developers will always be eager to build the next best resort in the most amazing and unthinkable of places. If you live in any of the travel destinations that we’ve discussed, then you’re probably fully aware of the local construction projects that never seem to end. Although it may be difficult to stomach the ongoing element of change, at least you’re not starting from scratch in the wilderness.

Moving forward, it’ll be interesting to see which uninhabited area of land is developed next for tourist-driven revenue. With technology improving, there’s no telling how far timeshare corporations will go to retain their market share. As long as they’re able to present bigger and better promises, consumers will always be intrigued by the appeal of fractional ownership in new travel destinations – even if it jeopardizes the captivating, natural beauty of America’s landscape.

2 Major Vacation Destinations Ruined by the Timeshare Industry.

2 Major Vacation Destinations Ruined by the Timeshare Industry.

In recent years, the travel industry has exploded with a number of options that provide an array of experiences across the globe. But even as younger generations have grown accustomed to variation travel, the timeshare industry has defended their dominance with major resorts in desired vacation destinations. In fact, some of the most prominent pieces of land are owned by timeshare companies and major resorts. Money and power has always provided them with an advantage.

Setting up shop in tourist-heavy locations helps them strategically leverage local attractions to promote “free” incentives to lose-spending travelers in exchange for attending a high pressure sales meeting. This extremely complex process misleads and captivates people that are already in a state of euphoria while on vacation. Generally, 1 out of every 3 people lured into a timeshare presentation end up going home with extra baggage.

Why Does VOC Care About the Timeshare Sale?

At the end of the day, people travel to prominent vacation destinations to relax and rejuvenate – not listen to a sales pitch. A $25k+ timeshare mortgage with limited usage can easily become a regretful souvenir. But because so many resorts own premier real estate in beautiful places, the enchanting snare will always be there. The goal of many is to make a lot of money – not matter the consumer cost. At VOC, we prefer to help travelers establish “good memories” and work hard to prioritize satisfaction over sales

Far too often, the timeshare purchase (and the vacation on which it was bought) become deeply remorseful experiences. Getting out of the timeshare trap is not only emotionally difficult but physically costly. This is why we’re so passionate about this topic. The avoidance of industry pitfalls is more important than understanding ownership itself. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the vacation destinations that have been completely ruined by the timeshare industry

Some of the Travel Destinations Ruined by Timesharing.

Although a majority of our content consists of educational material for timeshare prospects and owners, it’s always good to garner a further understanding of the industry as a whole. Each of the following destinations have seen quite a bit of change since the early days of travel. Whether they’re littered with mountains, golf courses, attractions or sandy beaches – some of the most beautiful places in America have been shaped by the timeshare industry.

1. Las Vegas, Nevada

Just before the start of the 1830’s, America’s first commercial caravan forged a new route (now known as the Old Spanish Trail) from New Mexico to the California Gold Rush. The migrant’s arid journey, led by Antonio Armijo, eventually stumbled across a desert oasis about 100 miles southwest from camp during a routine search for water. As you can imagine, the beauty of the grasslands and abundance of fresh springwater captivated the group. One of Armijo’s scouts, Rafael Rivera, came up with the idea to call the region, “Las Vegas” – after the vastness of “the meadows.”

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Before Las Vegas became the entertainment capital of the world, it was primarily used as a rest stop for those looking to strike gold on the west coast. Early on, the town mainly consisted of Mormons and Latinos that lived in adobe huts and farmed the land. But once the San Pedro railroad decided to erect a Vegas train station in 1890, rapid change occured. By 1905, the town was jam packed with new lodging, shopping and saloons – thanks to business-men (like William A. Clark) and their ties to the railroad.

HOW, WHEN AND WHY LAS VEGAS STARTED TO EVOLVE.

The early 1900’s is really where Las Vegas started to transform into the “sin city” that it is today. In these times, the Wild West was pretty wild. The negligent sale and embezzlement of land by risk-taking entrepreneurs set a shaky foundation for the city. This was later taken advantage of by criminals that flocked to the autonomy of the desert frontier. Once national gambling bans were implemented in 1910, east coast mobs began to see Las Vegas as a city of opportunity. And boy were they right.

By the mid-1960’s, billionaires like Howard Hughes started running mob-owned hotels and casinos out of town. Once the 80’s arrived, entertainment and lodging started to be the primary focus. Wealthy developers like Steve Wynn improved on the ideas of smaller players by creating more of an “entertaining” experience through design. By the end of the century, 13 of the 20 (65%) biggest resorts in the world and nearly 90K rooms were available in Sin City.

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What was once considered a beautiful oasis full of natural life is now known as a unique human experience full of lights. The awe of the landscape isn’t so tranquil anymore. While suburbs and the city itself aren’t anything extraordinary, the strip is packed with advertisements, attractions, sales pitches and lust – making it one of the most entertaining vacation destinations in the world. It doesn’t take much to notice the dominating presence of timeshare developers and resorts at the crossroads of the west. What could have truly been a beautiful oasis retreat in the desert was turned upside down by money and entertainment.

2. Park City, Utah.

Similar to the Nevadan Oasis, Utah had its own little slice of heaven nestled in the pacific northwest. Park City, located east of Salt Lake City and the Twin Peaks, was originally discovered by American soldiers in 1868. After leaving their Salt Lake base and trekking through Big Cottonwood Canyon for silver, they stumbled across a plot of land worth settling on – and the rest is history. By 1870, the First Transcontinental Railroad had the region connected to a good portion of the country’s population. 

Once the word of silver mining spread, hundreds of people eagerly left home for a chance to strike a fortune’s worth of silver. Some, like George Hearst, did just that – making more than $50 million from his Ontario Mine that was bought for $30K. But not everybody found success and fortune in Park City.

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TRAGEDY HINDERED THE TOWN’S GROWTH.

Although the town grew 5,000-7,500 residents from 1889 to 1898, a disastrous fire destroyed nearly everything. Roughly 15% of the population was left homeless. But residents were no stranger to adversity and they were able to rebuild and reinforce most structures and houses within two years. The sense of community and pride for what they’d been able to accomplish together echoed for generations.

Since the settlement was nestled in between peaks, most affordable, build-ready plots were taken by the early 1900’s. Because of this, a significant amount of money was required to buy land in Park City. By the time the 1930’s rolled around, the silver market was dwindling and skiing had become a local hit. Despite more than 1200 miners losing their jobs in a short period of time, the idea of a winter attraction gave the city hope for its economy. So in 1946, they built the first ski lift at Snow Park (now called Deer Valley). But it wasn’t that simple.

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SAVED BY GOVERNMENT FUNDING HOSPITALITY CHAINS.

5 years later, Park City was reeling and the population receded to 1,150 residents. After receiving federal funding, Treasure Mountain Resort was constructed and marketed across the country. People started moving back and the slopes began to garner high praises and media attention. Major hotel chains and timeshare developers began moving in once cultural events and other winter recreations expanded. By the 1990’s, most of the available land had been developed for people to come and stay.

The economy was thriving again and even hosted some of the 2002 Olympic Games. What was once a proud town of hard working miners, forging their living in the Utah mountains, is now a bustling city of tourists drinking hot cocoa. Any given ski day could see nearly 1 million people scattered across the Park City slopes. Billion dollar timeshare structures now cast shadows on the fire-proof brick buildings that pioneers built more than 100 years ago.

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Many Popular Vacation Destinations Have Reached Their Peak.

The United States is home to thousands of beautiful pockets of nature and wildlife. But most have now been overrun by the travel industry. Because of the ambitious and indulging nature of human beings, we’ll never know just how stunning these regions were in the early 1800’s. It’d be even more interesting to know just who might’ve lived there before. Depending on how you look at it, the current attractions in these places could be seen as an astonishment or a sight for sore eyes.

Either way, there’s nothing we can do about the current state of these vacation destinations. It was bound to happen as nearly every western traveler passed through one of these locations at some point in time. There are plenty of places to visit, explore and protect for the time being. Next week, we’ll talk more about a few Atlantic cities and wrap things up in the Gulf of Mexico and Hawaii.

The Timeshare Owner’s Perspective During the Sales Presentation.

The Timeshare Owner’s Perspective During the Sales Presentation.

Nearly every victim of a timeshare sale is on vacation when they make the purchase. Because of this, many eventually regret it. While it’s easy to blame the ignorance of their decision on a gullible mindset and the euphoria of their travels, it’s important that we take a second to look at things from the timeshare owner’s perspective. Although consumers do have an individual responsibility to make wise purchases, the presentation of products shouldn’t look to take advantage of them. 

Whether travelers are solicited to buy a timeshare at a tourist-heavy location (boardwalk, strip, shopping center, etc..) or around the resort, they tend to be instantly intrigued by the lure of free overnight stays, dinner vouchers, tickets and other attractions. Cut-throat salespeople are positioned in these places to talk people into exchanging their time for these gifts. Even if the offer is something inexpensive like $60 GatorLand passes, most people take the bait.

This is Where the Story of the Timeshare Sale Begins.

From the timeshare owner’s perspective, attending a “90-minute” presentation appeared to be a win-win scenario. Yea, they might miss out on some of their trip, but they’ll get to do something else, that sounds amazing, for free! Everyone likes free stuff, right? But fast forward 8 hours (yes, 8 hours later), and the presentation is still going. They’ve now sat through a manipulated podium presentation, listened to a number of misleading statements and find themselves exhausted and relatively confused.

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Just when they start thinking a timeshare may not be their cup of tea, a new sales guy offers another “today only deal worth listening to.” This could be justified due to their shirt being blue or it being Tuesday. Almost anything is usually said to make the attendee believe they’re in for an even better offer or that they are special. Because they’ve come this far, they usually continue listening to offers – hoping something makes it worth their time. But in the end, it simply wears them down while remorse begins to settle in.

At this point, most people feel like they have to get something out of the wasted day. How bummed would you be if you lost some of your vacation with nothing to show for it? This is exactly how timeshare sales teams want travelers to think. Even when the white flag is waved and they request the “free gift” for their time, most are met by another closer that finds a better way to relate to them. Many become so bogged down by information that they don’t even check contract terms. Some even feel forced to sign.

Analyzing The Perspective of a Timeshare Owner.

From the outside looking in, you might wonder why they don’t just walk away. But victims are strategically distracted from certain elements of the purchase and continuously presented with perks. It can be awfully difficult to see the drawback of the product from a new timeshare owner’s perspective. Especially when they’re uncertain if they want to let the “today only deals” they’ve been presented with expire. While it may not be financially ideal, they almost feel obligated to buy because they qualify.

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You see, the timeshare sales process is extremely methodical with a strong level of urgency. The time invested and the commitment to the spiel can be misleading in itself. Salespeople know who they can persuade and how to persuade them. Sales teams pair up with relatable attendees and relationships are forged. The new “friend” spends hours getting to know them and uncovers everything about their financials, family, interests in lifestyle. Pretending to care helps salespeople garner trust and close the deal.

How Else Are Sales Attendees Sold on Timeshares?

Knowing someone’s wife wants to go to the Bahamas or that an attending couple has family in Hawaii could aid them in closing. The idea of letting children or relatives use the timeshare week could also encourage people to buy in. Improved financing options for lower income families that help soften the monthly cost may also do the trick. Many sales teams have even been known to lie about revenue opportunities to get contracts signed. 

From a timeshare owner’s perspective, having an investment property and a new friend that can help him make money sounds like a sweet deal. Sales teams nudge them by asking, “You can see the value in this right?” Some people are even told points or property values will increase over time. But there’s really no way someone can prove this during a timeshare presentation as historical data proves this to be false. So when attendees fail to see the value, more aggressive measures typically ensue.

But, What Happens When They’re Still Not Interested?

When friendly sales don’t work and an attendee really just wants to go back to their hotel, the sales demeanor usually changes drastically. The presentation pivots from a helpful friend to a critical one. Quick jabs are often taken to convict them for walking away. “You can finally afford to take your family on vacation, don’t your children deserve to go on vacation?” This is where some people even feel like they owe their sales rep a purchase – because of how hard they worked on the deal. 

Or they might be told, “Don’t you want to take your parents on a trip before they pass away? You said they wanted to visit Maine.” “What about your wife? Don’t you think she deserves a treat every year for watching the kids while you work?” “Don’t you think your husband deserves an escape after working so hard?” “You guys look like you could use a vacation.” All of these statements really get under the skin of someone who’s already wasted an entire day.

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What to Do If You Want to Go Home.

At this point, the attendee’s perspective will become defensive or succumb to the relentless sales efforts. They’re either going to want to sign up for something or get their gift and go home. In order to exhaust every possibility of the sales presentation, let’s assume the attendees dodge every sales pitch and communicate a firm, “No” on several occasions. Even after another supposed “price drop”, they demand their gift. It’s been far longer than 90 minutes and they’re ready to go to bed and prepare for a day at GatorLand tomorrow.

The thing is, they’re now committed to getting these tickets. Which can take another 3-5 closers to receive. At some point in the process, they’re going to either be forced to leave the event empty handed or commit to some deal to get their gift. Once people are told they can always take advantage of the contract cancellation period, they usually sign up to execute the exchange. Sadly, the actual value of most free gifts don’t match the original perceived value and a majority of people aren’t aware the rescission period is less than a week (3 days in some states).

Signing Up to Escape the Presentation Usually Backfires

So in this example, the timeshare owner’s perspective is rather muddy at this point. In most cases, the buyer isn’t going to even look into the purchase until they get home. If they immediately return to work (or their normal routine) then it could be days or weeks before they even get around to it. By the time they do, they realize there were some restrictions to cashing in their voucher and the timeshare purchase is now perpetually binding. The entrapment of the presentation is to blame.

When the new buyer tries to get in touch with the friendly sales rep, they’re unable to connect. Days after the purchase settles in, the owner then discovers a secret compartment in the binder his salesman forgot to mention. It’s then that they realize all of the verbal promises made were lies. Things begin to be more clear and resentment starts to settle in. From a timeshare owner’s perspective, they’re a victim. Because of this, most people want revenge – but few are able to obtain it.

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The Struggle to Escape a Bad Timeshare Decision.

Unexpectedly finding yourself under contract can cause an aspiring determination to find restitution. But like many buyers, it only causes more trouble. Whether they walk away from timeshare payments, attempt to resell the property or look into cancellation, there are a number of pitfalls. Added costs with no resolve is common in this industry. Frantically guessing on where to turn for a solution leads many to scams. 

A sense of hopelessness, bitterness or anger can then settle in if the financial burden gets out of control. Especially if the unit itself is disappointing. Although many buyers are led to believe they have an affordable $15K contract over 10 years; interest rates (15-17.9%), travel costs and unexpected maintenance fees are also contractually binding. This can be a tough pill to swallow. 

After failing to find a way out, many are forced to look for a new way to make the most of the purchase. From the timeshare owner’s perspective, making some sacrifices to afford payments is better than fighting a battle where the odds are stacked against them. But if they struggle to book ideal dates or the destinations they were promised aren’t available, a tipping point is usually reached. And the cycle essentially never ends.

Making Wise Timeshare Decisions.

While there are plenty of ways this scenario can play out, it’s important to understand the purpose of this story. Signing up for a timeshare agreement may seem like an amazing opportunity, but there are a number of moving pieces that can make it a regrettable decision. We’ve published dozens of articles on this in hopes you can find the answers you’re looking for. 

Knowing what to expect during the entirety of this process can be the difference between an extensive setback or nothing at all.

How do Timeshares Get Away With Lying to Travel Enthusiasts?

How do Timeshares Get Away With Lying to Travel Enthusiasts?

For decades now, millions of consumers have been talked into spending tens of thousands of dollars on a weekly timeshare vacation. While some are content with a simple trip to a familiar destination, others become consumed by efforts to make the purchase worthwhile. Whether lust or disappointment drives the pursuit, the timeshare sales system is built to take advantage of both. Over the past few weeks, we’ve talked a lot about the sales process and how buyers are misled. But the way timeshares get away with lying is just as concerning. 

In order to understand this better, it’s important that we remain focused on the contract signing. Oftentimes disputes by a vacation owner stems from the initial presentation. This is because actual contract terms are rarely disclosed, causing many buyers to sign perpetual agreements under false pretenses. In other words, sales teams have been known to lie in order to place unsuspecting consumers under a legal obligation they don’t exactly understand. 

Lying About Timeshare Ownership is Getting Worse.

In the past, getting out of a timeshare agreement has often been viewed as an unattainable feat. This is due to the amount of money poured into the sale of the contract. But over the past few years, people have started noticing that timeshares get away with lying more often than not. In return, consumer protection and government agencies increased their efforts to expose misleading sales practices and crack down on unethical timeshare operations.

Soon after, companies like ours began publishing industry truth to combat the deceit. Because of this, many major timeshare resorts have focused their efforts on additional ways to get away with lying. When you think about it, providing proper disclosure and an adequate follow through would solve a majority of their problems. But apparently, they’re more concerned with protecting themselves from backlash right now – while keeping owners under contract.

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“License to Lie” Clause Created to Protect Timeshares.

In last week’s article, we briefly covered a clause that is commonly being used in timeshare contracts today. Visible on most written agreements, this “license to lie” purportedly gives timeshare companies the “right” to disqualify any “verbal promises” made by a timeshare salesperson during the sale. These clauses are written in a way to protect the timeshare from any type of legal complaint regarding the presentation. 

Although this is currently in play, we’re not sure how they plan on enforcing it. Many prospects aren’t even allowed to view the contract until the sale is final. So if the purchase is based on a lie, then how can a buyer’s obligation be binding? The simple fact that prominent resorts are trying to legally protect themselves from being held accountable for false promises made by their own sales teams is absurd! Even more important, how can timeshares get away with lying when they’ve already been busted for singing the same tune?

Lying About Timeshare Contracts is Nothing New.

There’s a reason why timeshare companies use highly aggressive sales teams. Anyone with sense can see the intent here is to maximize their bottom line at the consumer’s expense. Extra effort has always been made to blame buyers for their ownership experience. Timeshares have their hands deep in lobbyist’s pockets to ensure lawmakers enforce short rescission periods and uncapped annual fees. The state of Florida recently increased the cap for special assessments. Even customer service teams are trained to make buyers feel responsible for the inconvenience of the purchase.

The never ending sales process, that’s jam packed with excuses, helps timeshares get away with lying and deflect any wrongdoing. The thing is, the problem still remains. The more owners they lie to, the more problems they have. Contractually forcing them to pay is not the answer. If anything, the license-to-lie clause will only make matters worse for resorts and their timeshare programs. Refusing to revise sales strategies and show empathy to a number of wronged customers is not a good look.

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Timeshares Find A Way to Keep Owners at Bay.

Government officials are either oblivious to the timeshare industry’s deceitful schemes or they’re benefitting from them. What makes this “license to lie” situation interesting is the California Attorney General recently sued a well-known timeshare group for it. But after the operation settled with the AG and removed the disclaimer from their contracts, they simply repositioned themselves under a successor company. 

Doing so allowed them to create new contracts with the exact same clause – and it’s being leveraged still to this day. Powerful hotel chains know that government agencies just don’t have the funds or manpower to continue fighting the same battles. Since the first settlement took years to execute, they apparently feel it’s worth the risk to do it again. It’s almost as if beating the system makes them feel accomplished.

The current use of the disclaimer against new owners gives the resort enough ammunition to quietly continue selling contracts and collecting payments. The losses from COVID-19 have added even further urgency and aggression to their sales tactics. And like we mentioned before, timeshares get away with lying because a majority of the general population isn’t aware of the actualities of the purchase – or what to watch out for during the sale.

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Are Travel Enthusiasts At a Disadvantage?

Rarely are people ever prepared or even motivated to properly document a timeshare presentation in order to protect themselves from sales fraud. Oftentimes, many feel as though they’ve stumbled across an opportunity of a lifetime. The charisma of the sale can be captivating. This is why all aspiring vacation owners should always have an attorney review the terms before signing anything.

Even a simple mention of this during the presentation can work in the buyer’s favor. But it’s hard for most to think this way. Many want the salesperson’s spiel to be true. Instead of challenging any and every promise before committing to the deal, they believe in the pitch. Little do they know that timeshare offers should be viewed with skepticism. Questioning the purchase could be one of the best decisions they ever make.

Timeshares Want Owners to Believe All Sales Are Final.

Travel enthusiasts will continue making ignorant timeshare mistakes until they fully understand the pitfalls of the industry. As buyers progress in ownership, they often have a number of questions about their contract. But once the rescission period is over (usually 5 days) and the agreement is binding, it’s awfully difficult for them to do much about it. As they discover more truth, remorse usually sets in quickly. Timeshare companies know this but many simply don’t care. They know they have leverage. 

As long as owners don’t turn to cancellation services or formulate a strong class action lawsuit, resorts know they can milk a vacation owner for tens of thousands of dollars before they even know what hit them. This is why a majority of their news releases and industry updates discuss exit scams. If they can create fear around an owner’s timeshare contract exit resource, they can make a lot of money off of one buyer.

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Will Timeshares Get Away With Lying Much Longer?

While the whole concept of lying is disheartening, it tells us that timeshare companies are becoming more desperate than ever before. The simple fact that they’re using old, failed tricks proves they’re running out of options. Society just doesn’t value an annual vacation like once before. Even though many have enjoyed their purchase in the past, the greed of the industry continues to rear its ugly head.

Buyers that were once able to travel effortlessly are now experiencing limitations. Mergers and new laws have added inconveniences to the overall fractional ownership experience. Points programs haven’t exactly been fruitful. Now that the travel industry is extremely competitive, some believe it makes more sense to simply cancel the timeshare. While we’re not quite ready to put a fork in the industry, the future most certainly looks bleak. 

When timeshares get away with lying because they’re avoiding the truth, it’s only a matter of time before it bites them. If you feel as though you’ve been misled during a timeshare presentation and want to learn more about our qualifying process, you can always schedule a free consultation. At VOC, we’re committed to understanding your current situation so we can point you in the right direction. Thanks for stopping by.

How Timeshare Prospects Are Worn Down During Sales Presentations.

How Timeshare Prospects Are Worn Down During Sales Presentations.

When it comes to timeshares, the amount of time and money that goes into the sale is staggering. But it’s not because travel has become extremely competitive over the last decade. Instead of advertising intervals online, timeshare companies prefer to meet with timeshare prospects in a secluded environment they can control. It’s just too big of a purchase for consumers to sporadically make anymore. Vacation rentals have taken over and nobody is actively searching for vacation ownership – giving resorts even more reason to utilize shady methods to fill presentations and sell their timeshare product. 

Pressure filled environments have always helped sales teams wear down attendees and increase their chances of closing the deal. While most attendees escape the arranged demonstration unscathed, many timeshare prospects don’t. Sadly, they become victims of the timeshare sales cycle. This is why it’s important that all consumers understand how deep the sale of vacation ownership weeks and points can go.

How Are Timeshares Leveraging Sales Presentations?

In our last two blog posts, we did our best to explain the process by which timeshare companies use misleading promises to coralle consumers into a persuasive presentation. Now that you know how these aggressive selling swindlers get in front of unexpecting consumers, it’s time to take a closer look at the exposition itself. While it may seem like we’re bashing the industry for selfish gain, just remember we’re trying to help those that have yet signed up for the agreement. 

Even though some of these occurrences may qualify you for our services, we would still need to inspect your contract(s) before advising you on relief or further restitution. While we do believe many timeshare operations aren’t consumer-friendly, our intent isn’t to sell you on our services. With that being said, here are some of the ways timeshare prospects are worn down during sales presentations.

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1. Short Meetings Usually Last a Long Minute.

If you’ve been invited to a timeshare sales presentation, then you’ve more than likely been offered something in exchange. Whether it be a free night’s stay at a prominent resort or a voucher for dinner and a show, you’ll be required to attend a “meeting” to receive the gift. Since most people balk at this, it’s often presented as a brief, 90 minute presentation to explain the details of the offer. Sometimes this isn’t disclosed until timeshare prospects arrive on location. This is done so consumers don’t change their mind or research the experience beforehand.

When you find yourself being talked into attending a meeting in order to receive something that was already promised to you, then you have to take notice. This is the first red flag of a lopsided presentation. What you’re going to be offered is not worth it. Don’t let the “prize(s)” distract you. Any lack of disclosure should create concern for timeshare prospects. This is important because once you step in the doors, it will be difficult to leave. Although you may think you’ll be able to say “no” and walk away, never underestimate the tongues of timeshare salespeople. It is very much so a group effort to close you.

Everybody knows someone that loves to talk. They’re the one person you can never find a way to break away from. This is exactly how timeshare sales presentations are. We’ve helped clients who claimed they weren’t allowed to leave the sales presentation for water and food due to diabetic concerns. It’s harder than you think and why resorts prefer to sell this way. It’s not uncommon for a 30 minute meeting to turn into an 8 hour presentation that eventually wears down timeshare prospects. Nearly every timeshare group operates this way.

2. Shiny Objects Keep Timeshare Prospects Distracted.

The first step of the sales presentation is to engage the audience. During this time, a number of appealing destinations, perks, options or possibilities are dangled in front of timeshare prospects. This helps them build excitement around the product from the podium. During this time, cunning sales representatives begin to segment the room and determine who they’re going to target and with what pitch. The “check-in” paperwork that guests were required to fill out gives them further insight on every attendee – helping them with this process.

As the lead presenter explains certain deals, packages and benefits, sales teams observe the responses of guests and take note of their intrigue while reviewing their financials. This allows them to “build a friendship” with timeshare prospects before they even meet them. Some have even been known to research certain guests online to gain an advantage.

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When attendees are distracted by shiny objects and the endless possibilities of ownership, it’s hard for them to notice they’re being preyed upon by commissioned contractors. If you ever feel as though something is too good to be true, then it probably is. If you’re giving sales teams personal information that isn’t necessary, think twice. Far too often, timeshare prospects are worn down by appealing possibilities and charisma during sales presentations. Don’t let that be you. 

3. You Can’t Leave Once You’ve Made a Commitment.

When it comes to the timeshare sale, psychological tactics are very much so at the forefront. Like we mentioned before, most people don’t like to think they’d fall for a one sided sales pitch. But once your intrigue is real and you’ve been sucked into the sales presentation, it’s difficult to let go of the desire to go on vacation. The longer you wait for a reason to leave, the harder it will be to walk out. Once the sales rep proves he’s continuously willing to wheel and deal, most timeshare prospects simply cannot stop playing the game.

If you already agreed to sit through a 90 minute timeshare presentation (and you weren’t caught off guard), then you were probably already expecting some sort of spiel. But if you knew nothing about the presentation itself, let alone the company name of the host, then why did the “incentive” appeal to you? We mention this because many attend these sales presentations with the hope it’s going to be fruitful. Even though it may seem sketchy, the possibility of an affordable annual vacation is attractive. When free gifts and invested time are at stake, many don’t want to let the opportunity go. In turn, the sales presentation wears them down and they do something they regret.

Personal Commitments and Timeshare Misconceptions.

What makes matters worse is the sales staff’s involvement in the inclination of timeshare prospects. In other words, the psychology of it all is troubling. Once distractions and excitement have been sewn into the podium pitch, the sales reps pull the attendees aside to a secluded room to finish the deal. This is normally the point of no return. 

Some may be skeptical and bold enough to voice that they have fulfilled their 90 minute requirement and demand their free gift. Sometimes this is effective but rarely does it matter. Sales teams have an answer and contingency for nearly every “no.” There always seems to be “one more thing to do” before they give you what they promised.

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Many salespeople simply state they aren’t authorized to give out certain gifts and call in another representative that has “the paperwork” for the deal. When you’re handed off like this, it’s called a takeover (TO). With each new sales representative, timeshare prospects are continuously persuaded on different products, features, perks, destinations and options. The presentation always continues with an offer for a better product, a different getaway or something that’s “better suited for your budget.” 

Even those that continue to demand their free gift are often met by another closer with better skills. The longer they can distract attendees, the more likely they are to settle on something. The mind game played here causes many attendees to forget what they’re even looking for. With each tick on the clock, they feel more committed and determined to get something in exchange for their time. At this point in the presentation, sales teams know timeshare prospects won’t just get up and walk away. 

With each closer, the pot gets sweeter and sweeter in the eyes of the timeshare prospect. Once the sales presentation has worn them down, nearly anything could seem like a good consolation prize. But giving in to get out of the presentation is dangerous. Most buyers never receive what they believe they paid for because they didn’t get verbal promises in writing. If you find the presentation extremely frustrating and you’re not sure what you’re getting yourself into, then just walk away. There’s no penalty for making a smart decision.

4. Lying About a Timeshare Prospect’s Ability to Cancel.

One of the most misleading elements of the timeshare sale is the idea of “today only deals.” Nobody should believe this facade for a second. Besides, all you need to do is compare the overall cost of ownership with a retail vacation to see it’s not much of a deal after all. Regardless, there is another lie that is far more concerning. Once a timeshare prospect has been worn down by the pitch, sales reps have been known to make false verbal promises about their ability to cancel or even that they will buy back the timeshare from them. Telling a tired and hungry attendee that they can always “cancel if it doesn’t work out” makes it easy to capture a signature.

This is why you must understand that these presentations are designed to be drug out as long as possible. They want you to believe you made the decision to buy and that the only way to leave is to find something that works. No matter what you think, they will do what it takes to get you under contract. Too much money has been spent and their reward is too high to give up. Leading you to believe you can easily cancel perpetuity is a last resort tactic that’s used once prospects are ready to leave.

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The Reality of a Vacation Owner’s Ability to Cancel.

The problem is, the details of the cancellation (rescission) period are rarely disclosed. Paperwork for this is often said to be missing (“fallen out”) and has even been found in “hidden compartments” of presentation folders at the spine. In most states, buyers have less than 5 days to change their mind. No matter how worn down timeshare prospects are, they have to be willing to ask questions. Many assume they’ll be able to visit the resort before making a decision to cancel – but they’re wrong.

Even though the rescission period has been a constant controversy for lawmakers, it has yet to change. Many believe consumers should have a chance to test the experience, but it doesn’t change the fact that thousands of buyers find themselves unwillingly under contract every year – simply because a timeshare representative told them they could cancel. What ends up happening is, once they realize they can’t get out of the timeshare agreement, they attempt to make it worthwhile. If they’re unaware of other costs, like maintenance fees or assessments, then they could be in for a big surprise.

Don’t Misjudge Sales Pitches as a Timeshare Prospect.

Owning a timeshare may seem like a pleasant experience for only $20k, but after interest, fees and travel expenses, it can be overwhelming. Upgrades and additional contracts can quickly turn the purchase into a 6 digit expense. While there are plenty of people that enjoy vacation ownership, people need to understand what they’re purchasing before they say “yes.” If you’re leaning on a sales team (that is highly incentivized) to lead you in the right direction then you should probably reassess your strategy

Hopefully these articles have given you a better perspective on what to look for throughout the timeshare sales process. The last thing you need to be doing is getting yourself trapped in a timeshare agreement you don’t want or need. Plenty of timeshare prospects have taken the time to do their own research and you should too. If you have any questions about your timeshare contract, you’re always more than welcome to schedule a free consultation.

Timeshare Verbal Promises and the “License to Lie” Exposed.

Timeshare Verbal Promises and the “License to Lie” Exposed.

When you think about it, nearly all of us long for a vacation. The stagnancy that comes from a routine is hard to ignore. Because of this, most of us are highly intrigued by “affordable” opportunities to get away. For more than half a century now, timeshare companies have been taking advantage of this desire to travel. But the industry didn’t exactly thrive because of consumer interest. Major hotel chains pay a lot of money to talk people into timeshare contracts. It’s why they unexpectedly present their product in a pressure filled environment with minimal disclosure

Every year, thousands of people jump on the opportunity before it “expires.” The problem is, there isn’t really a limited time offer. Also, the smoking deal isn’t too hot after maintenance fees, taxes and interest are actually included. Special assessments could occur at any time. Who knows which timeshare verbal promises will actually come true. Unfortunately, timeshares aren’t an investment property and they carry zero resale value. So, a return shouldn’t be expected. We’re telling you this because the industry’s “license to lie” has gotten out of hand.

Don’t Make a Mistake Before it’s Too Late.

If you look around, hundreds of thousands of vacation owners are seeking restitution. Although major resorts do a good job keeping things quiet, public records do exist. Dozens of owners call us on a daily basis looking for help. Most of them have continued to make further financial mistakes just trying to get out of the agreement. It can easily become a mess. The sad thing is, a majority of people wouldn’t have even made the purchase if verbal promises or misleading information didn’t convince them.

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At the same time, hearsay is difficult to prove when a signature is involved. Verbiage found on most written timeshare agreements actually states that the contract governs the purchase and that “verbal promises” hold no weight. A majority of buyers don’t notice this until it’s too late. This eventually forces them to make the most of their perpetual agreement. 

This is why it’s so important to understand the sale. Once the rescission period passes, the interval or membership in beneficial interest is yours. Even if you thought it was only going to be $20K. As our nation comes out of a pandemic and a season of protests and riots, most of us will be looking to find a new normal. It’s safe to say many of us will be looking for an escape. If you do go on vacation, then expect to be approached by a timeshare company looking to make up for their recent losses. 

Even if a deal seems too good to pass up and you really want to go on vacation, it’s important to use logic here. Reaching consumers in unexpected moments or during vulnerable circumstances helps them position value. The last thing consumers should do right now is make an impulse decision when the “license to lie” is at an all time high.

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False Verbal Promises Made By Timeshare Sales Teams.

Timeshare ownership may not be a complete disappointment to many buyers, but everyone can admit that the model does have its flaws. Natural disasters, resort failures and today’s travel restrictions from COVID-19 are all prime examples. But these realities of ownership are rarely discussed during sales presentations. Instead, verbal promises and possibilities are used to persuade. Here are a few common examples of such.

1. The Perks of Cheap Timeshare Availability.

The biggest sales pitch you can expect from a timeshare salesperson is the ease of travel and convenience. Aside from convincing you that you deserve a vacation every year, they’ve mastered the ability to present the product as financially affordable and easily accessible across multiple destinations. But this is simply not true. Not all inventory is available for timeshare owners. Package levels limit buyers to certain resorts. Even though the cunning salesman made a verbal promise to give you access in a certain destination, it won’t change what you signed.

2. Timeshare Owners Get First Choice.

If you’re going to talk someone into handing over tens of thousands of dollars for a vacation package, then you better make them feel important. This is why sales teams have been known to position “VIP access” as a perk of ownership. Since the travel industry is highly competitive and it’s difficult to find a good deal, getting the first pick on where you stay is extremely valuable. The thing is, inventory is first pushed out to the general public before going to the highest bidder. Timeshare owners receive the remnants. Unless you can confirm this in your contract, it’s certainly almost never true.

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3. Usage and Income Opportunities Are Vast.

After talking to thousands of timeshare owners over the years, the biggest misconception has got to be resale potential. Far too many buyers are determined to find a way to make money off the timeshare. They would never believe this to be true if they weren’t sold on this possibility during the presentation. Renting or selling timeshares usually comes with additional fees and no guarantee to garner a return. Similar to the timeshare itself, many of these programs also sell possibility as a product.

Utilizing a points program can be just as frustrating and discouraging. Many people are sold millions of points that they’ll never even be able to use. They find themselves in further peril after struggling to exchange the product. Timeshare presentations are structured to get attendees to believe there is value after the transaction. This makes them directly responsible for everything the buyer endures throughout ownership.

4. Buying A Timeshare Gives You An Asset.

While the presentation may seem compelling, there is no reason for anyone to believe a timeshare is an investment opportunity. Buyers don’t own the condo and receive no equity in the transaction. Once a salesman starts singing this tune, walking away is the best decision you can make. Today, most states regulate timeshare practices, specifically labeling it an asset. Intervals are absolutely not supposed to be sold as an investment property. But cunning tactics are normally used to get around the law. Verbal promises are the easiest way they can garner a signature and lock people into long term payments.

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Even those already under contract are continuously fed these lies. Timeshare reps have been known to go over numbers with owners, explaining how increases in “today’s point rates” have impacted the investment. However, the perceived value they slap on points programs makes no difference. Either way, timeshares almost never hold any value on the resale market anyways. This is a very misleading tactic used by timeshares to give the perception that there is equity to be had. Doing so allows them to offer today only deals that seemingly sweeten the return. All the while, the owner has no idea the timeshare is worthless and they’ll never be able to sell the property.

Resale should never be considered a perk of ownership and verbal promises like this should tell you everything you need to know about the industry.

You Can’t Believe Everything You Hear.

In a time of an awful lot of uncertainty, making wise decisions is important. We could all use a much needed vacation right now. But it doesn’t mean going all-in on an annual trip is a good idea. Take the time to investigate the opportunities that come your way over the next few months and always be leery of a timeshare salesman. If you have any questions about your contract or you’re looking to escape your burden for good, a no-cost consultation is only a phone call away.

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