Welcome to our Friday’s Letter from America, this week Wayne Robinson explains why it is often very difficult to cancel after purchasing a timeshare, but first a quick look at Europe.
Earlier this week it came to our attention that one of the largest tour operators TUI had been advertising weeks at Anfi Emerald for 1000€ p.p.p week, this was for a 1 bed deluxe apartment and included flights, transfers and breakfast. Now when we consider that members have paid thousands for their floating weeks along with the annual maintenance fees, yet we constantly hear from them that there is no availability, it makes you wonder what is going on?
This is not just a problem with Anfi, we have heard from many timeshare members that they are constantly having trouble booking, yet they see their own resorts being advertised on the various booking websites. Is it fair that these people pay thousands for what they are told is exclusive to members and find they can in many cases book cheaper than their maintenance fees, without having to pay the initial purchase extortionate price.
In another twist, mindtimeshare which formerly under the now discredited Alberto Garcia, was funded by the RDO (Resorts Development Organisation), has just published what can only be described as a rebuke of their former paymasters.
It revolves around the liquidation of Enduria Travel, also known as the Travel Shop and was based in Gran Canaria, they were also affiliate members of the RDO. In their article, mindtimeshare explained that they actually expressed concerns to the RDO about this company, but the RDO still accepted their membership. All we can say is how things have changed.
Today is what everyone is calling Black Friday, but at the start of the week it was for Anfi BLACK MONDAY!
Canarian Legal Alliance received on that day alone 12, yes 12 sentences against Anfi in favour of their clients, with over 900,000€ awarded, plus all contracts were declared null and void. They also received another sentence from the High Court in Tenerife against Silverpoint. In all this year CLA have secured over 11 million euros in awarded claims.
Now for this weeks article.
5 Strategies Timeshare Resorts Use To Prevent Cancellations
By Wayne Robinson
Black Friday November 23, 2018
Today is Black Friday in America, celebrated by standing in long lines at shopping malls to be followed by Cyber Monday, when stay at home shoppers shop the internet. I hope you will add my book Everything About Timeshares: Before, During and After the Sale onto your Cyber Monday shopping list.
Available through Barnes and Noble:
Many timeshare buyers do not even think about the contract they signed until after the rescission period has passed. Given that buyers are often not allowed onto the booking site until after the rescission period, the product the consumer bought is for the most part bought sight unseen and untried. Anything we can do shed light on these important rescission days could save the timeshare buyer untold grief and money, should they come to regret their purchase.
The Rescission Period
The rescission period is the time allotted by local governments for consumers to review their purchase and legally cancel their timeshare. The length of time varies by state, but is typically three to ten days. In Aruba, and in some American states, there is no rescission period.
If the timeshare buyer cancels their purchase during the rescission period, the government requires timeshare companies to give purchasers a full refund of any monies they have received. There is nothing more frustrating for a sales team than to spend 6-8 hours making a sale that later cancels. Sales agents and their managers will do everything they can to prevent new owners from cancelling their timeshare purchase during the rescission period.
Here are 5 strategies that many timeshare resorts use to prevent new timeshare owners from cancelling during the rescission period.
- Sales agents will avoid the rescission clause that is included in the documents.
Although the rescission clause is clearly written in the documents, many timeshare agents or Legal Verification Officers (VLO) will avoid mentioning this very important item. Many reps will discuss other matters to avoid the clause that outlines the rescission.
The resort’s management will not allow sales reps to mention the rescission period during the sale presentation. Mentioning it could lead to disciplinary action or being fired.
This is how many timeshare sales reps avoid having their sales cancelled.
Most timeshare buyers will not review the paperwork during the rescission period. After a 6-8 hour grueling sales presentation, the last thing the new owner wants to do is review all the legal jargon included in the documents. If the rescission period is not mentioned by the staff, too often the buyer is not even aware of it. In some states trial products have no rescission period.
Each state rescission period is listed in this chart provided by ARDA, the American Resort Development Association. There have been more than a few complaints from timeshare members who were denied release, despite being only a half day late. Instructions on how to rescind are buried deep within the contract, and sometimes instructions are vague.
- They will follow-up to overcome Buyer’s Remorse
It is important for the timeshare sales staff to keep in touch with their new clients shortly after the sale to prevent them from cancelling. Most clients will have buyer’s remorse and reconsider their purchase after the buyer has taken the time to think about their purchase, research the company that they just spent $21,000 on (on average), to ensure that they did the right thing. For this reason, sales reps need to be available just in case the client wants to cancel. After all, it might have been a very expensive and unexpected purchase that was sold on emotion
According to a Redweek article, Dr. Amy Gregory, assistant professor at the University of Florida has been studying the impact of buyer regret and remorse and rescission decisions. She says that most timeshare buyers regret their decisions.
“A whopping 85 percent of all buyers regret their purchase (for money, fear, confusion, intimidation, distrust and other reasons).”
Dr. Gregory’s findings are as follows:
- The average rescission rate is 15% – essentially identical to the daily average percentage of people who buy a timeshare following a sales presentation.
- 85% of all buyers regret their purchase, citing reasons including money, fear, confusion, intimidation, and distrust.
- 41% of buyers never thought they would regret their purchase but ended up doing so; 30% were neutral prior to buying, but came to regret their decision.
- 95% of all buyers go back to their resort and sales team for more information after the sale, usually within one to three days, seeking more information about maintenance fees, resale options, and pricing alternatives.
Some sales reps will treat their new owners out for a nice dinner to help “bond the relationship.” This tactic works well as the new owners are getting to know the sales agent on a personal basis rather than as a sales person. After all, the salesperson used their own money and time to take the new owners out for dinner. Why would they consider canceling with “their new friend?”
- They will follow-up by phone.
If the new timeshare owners are on vacation some resorts will require the sale staff that made the sale to meet with the new clients the next day, or call them within 24 hours. This is to overcome buyer’s remorse, and to answer any questions or provide clarifications. Often, the new owners forget the verbiage made during the presentation.
- The resort may reduce the sales price.
If the new timeshare owners decide that they want to cancel, the resort can offer to reduce the price. Often this “second round” rendezvous could require another 2-3 hours of negotiations. Many take the bait and purchase at the lower price, or some keep the original agreement. Unfortunately, the timeshare company may not change the original rescission period, and the new owners now have less time to reconsider their purchase.
Consumers need to be aware that the “today only” price will always be available the next day, week, month or maybe even years later.
- The resort may offer more gifts.
If the resort offered gifts, there are hundreds or thousands of additional monies that was left on the table because the sale did not exceed their “bottom line” price.
If the new owners want to cancel, the management can offer more gifts to “sweeten the deal.” These free gifts might include free accommodations, free meals, free activities, free or discounted RCI weeks or other options.
New owners must be aware of the new terms that might have entered the contract. These terms could include paying rack rates for the free accommodations or paying the highest advertised prices for any gifts just in case they decide to cancel the deal. This action could add into the thousands of dollars if they decide to cancel.
Timeshare resorts will use every strategy that they can, including embarrassment and condescendence to keep the sale, but it’s the consumer’s final decision to end the relationship or move forward. Therefore, it is imperative to read all the documents thoroughly before signing, or present it to an attorney during the rescission period.
Wayne C. Robinson is the author of Everything About Timeshares: Before, During and After The Sale. He is a former timeshare executive who is advocating with consumers to assist them their timeshares problems, and to help consumers better understand the timeshare business from an “insider’s” perspective.
For more information, visit his website at www.everythingabouttimeshares.com
Related article: About Wayne Robinson
Self-help groups we feel are not industry influenced:
Thank you Wayne for your contribution this week, it is certainly an eye opener.
If you have any questions or comments about this or any other article, then Inside Timeshare would love to hear from you. We hope that you have a great weekend and join us again next week.