Life Lessons

Don't Fall for Timeshare

Timeshare used to be a lot more popular than it is now. Why? Because so many people got burned owning a timeshare. When you visit a ski resort or a vacation spot, you are likely to be enticed into attending a timeshare presentation in exchange for free vacations, freebies, free tickets for your favorite attractions or even cash.

Why so many people fall for timeshare?

If you walk down the street and someone is flat out handing you some cash, say $100, wouldn't you at least ask what you have to do? People who sell timeshare know that an average person wouldn't say no to free money or free things that they already want and they capitalize on that. Say, you stop and ask what the catch was and find out that all you have to do is attend a 1 hour (or even 30 minutes) presentation where a popular resort will show you their facilities. Sounds good, right? Most people think so. You get to keep the $100 cash for free and get to see the beautiful resort. It only takes an hour. You don't have to give out your credit card number or even real information about where you live or your name. Since it seems risk free, a lot of people say 'ok' and the next step is that you have to turn up at the presentation to get your $100. No obligations, no questions asked.

The downfalls of timeshare freebies

Here are some facts that the timeshare dealers fail to tell you.

  • You will only get your $100 or any other freebies at the end. That means you have to hear the whole presentation.
  • Presentations are not just a tour of the resort but heavy (very heavy) straight sale pitches that the sales person will tire your ears out to get you to sign up. They will use all sorts of sales tactics including intensive pressure selling for you to buy today and not go back and think about it. All sales persons there will make commissions only if you sign up so imagine how hard they will try to get you to say yes.
  • Most of the time, the sales rep can give you incorrect information. It is then up to you to read the contract because if you later call them to say that you weren't aware of certain things and that their sales rep misinformed you or misrepresented the products, all they will do is refer to the huge stack of the contract that you signed and wouldn't do anything else to help you. Why? Because that is the way timeshare works. If the are nice to everyone then they wouldn't make any money since if people really know how difficult it is to benefit from their timeshare, most of them would quickly want out.
  • There will be pressure selling that will be more and more attractive until you say yes. You may even win a cruise, many free vacations etc on the way. However, when you try to claim them, the timeshare place will say that you will get the information in the mail. If you do not (likely) you will have to call them and they will give you a run around until you eventually leave them alone.
  • Most people who own timeshare fall for the sale tactics and end up not using their timeshare. They end up wasting a large amount of money and gaining nothing.
  • The price of the timeshare may be small (a few thousands) but the maintenance fee will be large ($500 a year). Most of the time, you will be sold on the price of the timeshare which is small. The maintenance fee will be rarely discussed if not asked. Why? because if people know that they have to pay $500 every year to keep the timeshare, they may want to spend that elsewhere such as on their actual vacation!