Timeshare salespeople are trained to use high-pressure, and slippery sales talk to to get people to part with their hard earned money. While they are not necessarily scams, they are designed to wear down the target until they sign a contract for what is usually an overpriced vacation package that they probably could have gotten for a fraction of the price on eBay. Before heading to a sales presentation, get to know the tactics they use so that there is no chance of getting buyers remorse. Once there is a contract in place, exit timeshare can be a costly and challenging process that is better avoided. Here are some of the tactics they use to get people to sign those contracts.
Free Vacations, Attraction Tickets, and Food. Oh My!
The sales pitch starts with an offer of free stuff for anyone who agrees to sit through a timeshare presentation. They love to offer free vacations at their resort, free breakfast or lunch, free tickets to local attractions or events, or free stuff like cameras and luggage.
The presentation will start with a salesperson who is friendly and wants to gain the customer’s trust. They will pitch all the reasons why a timeshare is a great idea and all of the benefits of their resort. If they are unable to convince the person to sign on the dotted line, they will bring out a manager who will offer an even deeper discount for that day only. Eventually, they will give up and hand over the promised freebie, but in all, it could take several hours to reach that point.
Make sure that whatever freebie they are offering is actually worth the time invested in listening to them pitch their timeshare. Usually, free items like cameras are not worth the time investment. Whether or not free tickets and vacations are worth it depends on the person. Be warned. They may say the presentation will only take 90 minutes, but it is highly likely that it will last for closer to several hours.
Do It For Your Marriage!
Timeshare salespeople target couples for several reasons. First, they are likely to have a higher disposable income and to take regular vacations. They may also be able to pressure one of the parties into buying the timeshare for their partner. The first thing a salesperson is going to do is talk to a couple and ask what seems like mundane questions to get a feel for their relationship and their lives so that they can use this information to their advantage later. If they can convince one person to want the timeshare, they convince the other to buy it for them and this makes hard to exit timeshare
Deep Discounts – Today Only!
One tried, and true sales tactic is the threat of losing out on a good deal. No one wants to feel like they missed out on an opportunity, and these salespeople know that. They will offer a deal, and if they can’t convince the customer to take it, they will bring in a manager who will offer a lower price but swear its the lowest they can go. They may even say it is so low that they are not supposed to do it, but for whatever reason, they will do it just this one time. Don’t fall for it. The chances are that they are nowhere near their bottom price, and a savvy negotiator could get the price down even more.
Resorts and vacation spots always need people to fill empty rooms, so no deal is ever good for today only. Look at the proliferation of online travel sites offering discounts on unsold rooms and it’s clear that there is always a discount available to the person who is willing to go looking for it.
Math That Doesn’t Add Up
Another tactic that preys on a person’s instinct to save money is to make it look like the timeshare will save thousands of dollars over time. The salesperson may ask how much they typically spend on a vacation. Thousands of dollars a year? Then they will multiply that cost by the number of years in the timeshare and show how much money is being “saved” in the long run by buying the timeshare instead of paying for the resort one vacation at a time. While a timeshare might save money in the right situation, usually this mixed up math is misleading.
First of all, the amount that is spent on a vacation will include lodging, food, entertainment (shows, events, etc.), souvenirs, and travel whereas the amount spent on the timeshare doesn’t typically include anything but the lodging.
Secondly, there are almost always yearly maintenance fees included with a timeshare contract that is not taken into account when showing the client how much money they could “save.” These maintenance fees could add up to hundreds of dollars a year with no guarantee that the level of quality the resort currently holds will be the same in a couple of years. On top of potentially falling levels of quality, nothing is stopping these resorts from hiking up the prices of their maintenance fees, reducing the chances to exit timeshare, once the contract is signed.
If it becomes necessary to exit the timeshare months or years later, the resort will likely try to deny the request. Many times people are told that the contract is valid forever and if the maintenance fees are not paid, they will report the non-payment to the credit reporting agencies. It may become necessary to pay an attorney or agency to get the resort to exit timeshare back.
An Investment in Declining Value
An investment implies that in the future, there will be a return or benefit to the purchase. Many salespeople will call the purchase of a timeshare an investment and make promises about the viability of selling the timeshare for a profit at a later date. This is almost always untrue. It will never sell for a profit, and it can lose nearly all of its value once the contract is signed. The hard truth is that there is no way for the customer to protect the value of what is being purchased, and the resort has no reason to protect it.
With a timeshare, there is no tangible asset. It is merely a piece of paper promising that for a certain number of weeks per year, the buyer can utilize a space. The worth of that time is contingent on the continued quality of the resort, inflation, acts of god, and other uncontrollable factors.
Another problem is the amount is it being purchased for at the presentation. These prices are always inflated to cover the costs of the free giveaways, commissions, and other fees associated with getting people into the presentations. Since the customer already paid more than the timeshare is worth, there is no way for them to recoup that money when they try to resell it. Even if the resort offers to buy it back, it will be for pennies on the dollar so they can sell it to the next person at full price.
These salespeople have heard all of the excuses in the book on why someone isn’t ready or wanting to purchase a timeshare right away. They have all the answers to these excuses memorized and are prepared to battle when the time comes for a potential customer to tell them no. Don’t get sucked in. Remember that these people are trained to get a yes, and their salary probably depends on getting people to sign a contract. If they can get someone to sign a contract that day at a high price, they make more money. They don’t care if it’s been 30 minutes or three hours. If they think they can get that signature, they will keep at it until they get what they want.
The Ticking Time Bomb
Contracts take time to read over, which gives the person about to sign a chance to change their mind, especially when they start reading the caveats in the fine print. Instead of giving the client some space to look the document over, most salespeople will try to rush the customer to put in their signature. Once that signature is on the paper, it won’t be easy to exit timeshare or to get the deposit back. Some salespeople don’t want the client to know that there is a “cooling off” period for timeshare purchases which can range from a few days to a few weeks where the customer can change their mind and cancel the purchase. The contract isn’t in danger of blowing up so take the time to read everything, including and especially the fine print.
Not all timeshares are bad, and not all salespeople want to get something over on people. Most of these are people trying to make an honest living. With some preparation, knowledge, and little bit of savvy, these sales presentations can be beneficial with the right incentives. It is also possible to get a great deal on a timeshare. Knowing their sales tactics and how these situations work can make negotiating for the best deal possible easier to achieve. If the time comes to exit timeshare, there are ways to do that as well. Find out all of the options ahead of time and do some research online before making any commitments or signing any contracts. In the long run, the time spent doing research will be well worth it.