Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, this week Irene Parker explains “What to Watch Out For” if purchasing a timeshare, we are sure you will find this very informative.
The Informed Timeshare Buyer – What to Watch Out For
“It’s not a sales presentation” Yes it is
“Did you get the letter?” There was no letter
“You have to buy today” No you don’t
These are unfair and deceptive sales practices
By Irene Parker
January 8,, 2018
“There’s no such thing as a timeshare expert,” Bill Rogers says, “the rules are always changing and there is always something new to learn.” The number one piece of advice Rogers gives to potential timeshare buyers is to do their homework. “There are countless stories of people who have had bad experiences with timeshares, but most likely, those are the people who didn’t take the time to educate themselves before they bought,” says Rogers.
There are millions of timeshare members happy with their timeshare. However, many existing members may be unaware that their timeshare has little to no secondary market. A significant percentage of timeshare members who have reached out to us have experienced a life event that makes the timeshare unaffordable, or useless if unable to travel.
Deeding a timeshare back to the timeshare company without receiving any monetary value back may be acceptable when you have used the timeshare for many years, but what about the buyer who purchases a timeshare and then learns, sometimes just minutes, days or weeks after the rescission period has past, they experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices? There are numerous Attorneys General investigations, lawsuits, Better Business Bureau complaints, and floods of internet postings making this assertion difficult to deny.
Timeshare buyers need to be aware of the handy oral representation clause timeshare companies fall back on to dismiss any complaint that begin with, “The sales agent said.” Since the timeshare sales agent understands this, there is, in effect, nothing to stop the lies, especially when some state regulators back the dismissal with their response, “You have no proof” or “Verbal representations are hard to prove.”
The most common ploy is to use scare tactics to convince a deeded owner to give up their deed and convert to points. Timeshare sales agents love to give estate planning legal advice without being licensed to practice law. “If you keep your deed your heirs will be responsible for the timeshare,” they warn. Don’t fall for this. I am not a lawyer, but have spoken with many lawyers on this topic, including my own estate planning lawyer. No timeshare member is required to give up their deed, unless all owners are required to do so because the timeshare is being terminated.
Do not pay anyone upfront money to get you out of your timeshare without checking with one of the self-help groups listed below. There are many scams created by the flawed points based product because of the industry’s success in restricting the secondary market. The old fixed week timeshares may have been less flexible, but at least avoided complaints about limited availability. You knew what you owned and were guaranteed the stay.
A member of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association can estimate what your timeshare may be worth. LTRBA members will not even accept a listing for the points I purchased feeling my timeshare points have no secondary market.
A Summary of Deceit
Omission and Concealment
You can pay your maintenance fees by charging to a credit card when only 1% to 2% of purchases can be credited towards maintenance fees.
“You were confused” is a frequent response. Adulterating an existing program somewhat similar to a real program, allows the defending customer service agent to provide the “you were confused” response.
Moving the goalposts
You didn’t buy enough points. One senior couple lost their entire savings, $13,000, and were foreclosed after being told the original points they purchased were worthless. They were not. They were sold a minimal number of points that they could have vacationed with, but then up-sold into a loan they could not afford, told they would lose everything if they did not buy more points. The Florida Senior Sleuths from the Senior vs Crime projects never returned phone calls. http://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-with-irene-8/
Diverting the conversation away from the perpetrator’s act and moving the conversation onto a different topic is a typical way predators manipulate their victims. This tactic is used to keep your credit card and ID by saying a manager will need to close out the presentation, which ends up restarting the presentation.
It is far easier to keep a person under control if they are isolated from family members and friends. Timeshare sales agents are trained to not allow calls to an accountant, lawyer or family member.
Fortunately, members are helping other members take back their vacation. Our teams of supporting members, who have themselves been through our complaint process, remove the sense of isolation and shame felt after you discover you were duped. Of the 644 readers who have reached out to us, many have joined our efforts to bring awareness to practices that have been allowed to continue for far too long.
… For reading, responding and for helping others. Contact Inside Timeshare or these self-help groups if you need help or have a question you need answered.
We seek to provide timeshare members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.
FTC Report on Fraud
Thank you Irene as usual you have given us a simple guide on what to look out for, it is just a great shame that the developers don’t take notice and curtail their sales agents deceptive practices. We have often said this, timeshare could be a great product and if presented correctly it would sell itself, there is no need to use unethical practices, the only reason is greed.
If you have any comments on this or any other article Inside Timeshare would love to hear from you.