10 Sep Consumers: Beware The Time Share! Part 3.
In Part One and Part Two of this article I discussed the general sales tactics and hidden costs of time share ownership.
As I mentioned in Part Two, my one week vacation with all fees was going to cost around $410.00 per month: $4,920.00 per year.
So what happened when I didn’t bite?
In many respects the sales tactics were similar to what is often experienced when buying a new car.
The first question was the classic: “What will it take to get you into this (fill in the blank) today?”
The goal is to offer you the deal in such a manner that you can afford it.
However, unlike car dealers that now offer 5, 6 and 7 year loan periods, it was apparent that these sales people were locked into the 10 year financing that I previously mentioned. So they couldn’t offer a longer time period to pay.
So what they did instead is start taking things away.
In our case I told them I might be interested if I could get in for $250.00 per month.
And, miracles of miracles, they could get me in at $250.00, however, instead of the 154,000 points previously being purchased I was now only getting 105,000 points. And I still had to pay nearly $50.00 per month for maintenance fees.
When I made it clear that I meant $250.00 total we were faced with classic car sales tactic number two: “I’ve got to run this by my manager!”
Several minutes passed and a person who identified himself as the manager came and sat at the desk with a new contract: $211.00 per month plus $36.00 per month maintenance fee! So were now under $250.00 per month.
However, the mood turned sour when they would not put a cap on the maintenance fee, even for a limited period of time. In other words, they could raise the maintenace fee whenever they wanted and to whatever amount they wanted.
The manager then used classic car sales tactic number three: The presumptive close: Will you be paying the deposit by check or credit card?”
When I advised that I wanted to take the contract with me to go over the terms and get back with them before I left town the next day, I was advised that it was not possible to take the contract with me, at which time both salesperson and manager left the table.
Moments later another person came to the table and asked us to follow her so she could ask some departing questions:
“How was the presentation?” “How was our sales person?” “On a scale of 1-10, how close were we to buying?”
And then, the final, and frankly unexpected pitch: A four year agreement for $99.00 per month and what appeared to be a $1,200.00 processing fee. If during that four year period you decided to become an owner you received credit for the payments you made toward you ownership.
Now I will be honest with you, If that deal had been presented to me on the front end, I probably would have seriously considered it. I would have signed on the “dotted” line, paid the monthly fee, used my vacation time, and if nothing further ever came of it, then no hard feelings.
But I was so suspicious of the process by that time that I simply wanted to go.
Anyway, what have we learned.
1) Timeshare salespeople use hard sell tactics. They push all of the right buttons and have heard all of the objections. The goal is to get you to sign and pay a deposit.
2) Because of the self financing, you have no way to know if you can get better financing and you may be locked in to a 17.99% interest rate if you sign. Never sign anything unless you know what your interest rate is going to be before you sign.
3) They don’t want you to read the contract or even think about what you are doing. If you are offered a take it or leave it offer as was done here, leave it. In the immortal words of the Knights of the Round Table when confronted with the Killer Rabbit:
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