If you were able to catch last week’s article, then you now know there is an endless list of lies that timeshares tell consumers. Nearly every timeshare complaint involves the initial transaction. Although we already covered most of the presentation’s tactical verbiage, there are lies that appeal to people – even after they say “No” numerous times. Whether buyers fall for any of the entry-level deception or not, one single lie can lead them down a confusing path of bad decisions.
With that being said, we wanted to kick things off today by discussing the mythical perks of vacation ownership and how damaging they can be. Many consumers eventually give in to the sale because something finally seems advantageous to them. A sampler package, potential income opportunities or even a seamless ability to upgrade to make the ownership more “affordable” can catch the eye of a naysayer. Either way, the longer you stay at a timeshare presentation, the more likely it is you’ll buy one.
The Dishonest Sales Pitch Has Never Changed.
Once someone is sucked into believing that a certain element of vacation ownership is beneficial to them, it’s difficult to escape the neverending sales grasp. This is why hundreds of thousands of buyers spend tens of thousands of dollars chasing a worthwhile experience. In reality, the deception doesn’t end after the sale is final and a string of bad decisions can be devastatingly costly if you buy into the lies that timeshares tell. With that being said, let’s get back into our list of dishonesty.
4. Lies That Timeshares Tell About Discounts and Perks.
Not everyone that sits through a timeshare presentation experiences the same set of lies. In most cases, the sales pitch is predicated on your background and the way you respond. If you know nothing about the product then chances are, a lot will be hidden from you. Informed consumers that aren’t distracted by the demonstration normally ask the right questions. This is good, but sales teams are always prepared to counter.
You’d Rent Your Timeshare Week to Cover Some of the Costs?
For example, most people start to lose interest when they find out additional fees for maintenance, assessments, taxes or exchanges add to the total cost. At this point, the lies that timeshares tell about affordability should set off an alarm. But instead of admitting to the disinformation, most salespeople explain how renting the unit can cover these costs. While this may immediately seem appealing, like the lure of resale, it is almost never beneficial.
In fact, this is a completely hollow statement with no factual backing. For starters, how can vacation owners compete with the timeshare inventory that’s pushed out to travel sites like Expedia and Priceline? What about the seamless transactions of vacation rentals? Are owners really able to provide this type of experience without additional costs? Moreover, why would they want to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a trip they have to rent out just to try to cover annual fees?
The concept in itself makes zero sense but is sold as a perk. In other words, the blatant lies that timeshares tell through sales departments about income opportunities are preposterous! Owners that have trusted the timeshare to rent their interval tell us they’ve only received back a quarter of their annual costs. They can’t believe they were encouraged to essentially pay the resort for someone else to use their mortgage.
Lies That Timeshares Tell About Family Benefits.
While there isn’t one specific lie timeshare organizations spew about family perks, sales people know how to leverage your relationships. Using the property for holiday gatherings, family reunions and other events normally catches buyer’s attention. Even an inheritance for children can be intriguing. But it isn’t always enough. This is why some presentations claim further discounts for loved ones.
Whether your family isn’t available to travel or you don’t have kids, they’ll find a way to position some sort of value. Some of our clients made the purchase because they thought business partners, clients or family friends could use their unit or access membership discounts. But this isn’t always true and Maria’s story we published a few weeks ago is standing proof.
What Does a Timeshare Actually Provide?
At the end of the day, buying a timeshare because you believe it is an asset is ignorant. The only reason most people believe this is because the sale convinced them of it. At some point, we have to start thinking for ourselves. If you take the time to do this, you’ll realize there are no actual benefits other than a time slot for a possible vacation. No matter what you’re told, the product does not add wealth, improve your credit, save you money or give you any type of status.
As a matter of fact, the property may not even be owned by you! Points are essentially “right to use” terms and you can only use them if you can find ample availability. Once you’re under contract, even if you can’t use it, the product (points or deeded interest) places you in an obligation for liabilities. This means, natural disasters, acquisitions, renovations and other unexpected occurrences only add to your payment responsibilities.
The Coronavirus of 2020 is a perfect example of an unexpected occurrence. Not only is the pandemic proving to be a reason to issue additional assessment bills but owners are being prohibited from using what they already paid on. Many vacation owners are currently trapped in their agreement and can’t even book until next year. Some are even being charged rescheduling fees for trip cancellations even though resorts are closed.
Owners have told us that their timeshare has “refused to refund” their points or annual vacation time because they didn’t cancel their reservation in time – during a mandated lockdown. Many are now jobless with no help from the timeshare. Although timeshares may be out of touch with reality, owners should be bracing for the aftermath of COVID-19, where significant “special assessments” could arrive in 2021.
Today, we’d be hard pressed to find any vacation owner that views the purchase as a channel of stress relief. Being forced to pay a large assessment would only increase the burden of owning one during this time. It could devastate the lives of many for years to come. Could this alter the perception of the industry as a whole? It’s hard to tell but one thing is for certain, it’ll be at the expense of buyers.
5. The Lies Told at Vacation Owner Update Meetings.
If you own a timeshare and are unsure of what this means then you will at some point. Owner update meetings are normally focused on persuading current owners to upgrade their package or expand their availability to inventory. Sometimes they’re even positioned as a customer service solution. Whether you’ve been invited by the resort, lured by an incentive or you’ve been told you have to attend one before receiving access to your unit, be prepared to face dishonesty.
Many of our clients tell us they’re appalled by some of the deceit spewed at owner update meetings. “I was told that I would have to upgrade [my timeshare] for it to have any value,” said one owner. Most attendees simply want to get on with their vacation. Little do they know the mandatory, informational meeting is nothing more than an additional sales presentation. Many walk away thinking real problems have been resolved because of the lies that timeshares tell them there.
Timeshare Acquisitions Don’t Provide Many Perks.
After an acquisition takes place (another timeshare operation takes over management), owners are almost always pulled into a “mandated” owner meeting to inform them that their original contract or deeded interest is now essentially useless. Most of these gatherings then “force” owners to purchase upgrades or new programs (typically points) when they shouldn’t have to. What’s explained to them regarding the benefits of an upgrade isn’t always entirely true.
Aside from these lies, a new timeshare mortgage, in general, is rarely beneficial. It usually comes with increased annual dues and language that doesn’t allow the owner to use the timeshare the way they use to. There are a number of lies that timeshares tell consumers after an acquisition. But just because new management says the future is bright, it doesn’t mean yours is.
6. Even Timeshare Sampler Packages Are Riddled With Lies.
The last section of deceit in this series has to do with sampler timeshare trials. A few weeks ago, we covered a story on two friends that decided to try a timeshare package and immediately regretted it. The limitations of the trial resulted in the timeshare company persuading them to spend more for additional points. Luckily for them, they were able to catch on early in the process and filed a complaint.
Even if you escape a timeshare presentation (without committing to a perpetual agreement), the lies that timeshares tell consumers about a sample package can still trap you. It’s a lot easier for people to say “Yes” to a $5K timeshare trial with an expiration date when compared to a $40K mortgage. But what happens when they can’t book a trip at the locations that were sold to them?
Walk Away From Bad Timeshare Decisions When You Can.
The entire focus of the timeshare sales process is to place consumers under perpetual agreements that force them to make payments. You can believe the lie that you need to upgrade for better availability (like the buyers we first mentioned) or you can overcome the entirety of the ploy by saying, “No.” In most cases, the terms of a timeshare trial are not consumer-friendly at all. The goal will always be to get you to spend more, not have a better time.
Why take the risk of unexpectedly finding yourself under contract with extensive future payment obligations? You can follow the bait of the trial – so your $5K doesn’t go to waste – or you can take the loss while you’re still somewhat ahead. Sadly, the lies will never end. Even if you think you’re smart enough to come out on top, just know many successful, confident people have been humbled by timeshare travel – egotistically and financially.
Have You Been A Victim of a Dishonest Timeshare Sale?
Emotions are usually running high by the time a vacation owner realizes they’ve been lied to. It’s a tough pill to swallow if it’s something you really believe in. But when it comes to dealing with timeshare companies, anger isn’t going to move them. The industry was built on self preservation and the extent of their legal division should intimidate you. This is why it’s important to avoid an irrational agenda.
Even though timeshare cancellation is our specialty, every owner needs to exhaust their efforts with the resort. Doing everything you can to communicate your concerns in a professional manner only helps you in the long run. If you happen to have any questions about your contract you can always schedule a free consultation to learn more. If you know of any other lies that timeshares tell consumers, feel free to leave them in the comments below.