High Pressure Selling Techniques
It is common knowledge that timeshare sales people will adopt unethical tactics to ensure a sale, with little thought to the negative consequences to the client. Many tactics they use will not be recorded or put into writing and as such can be denied when later questioned. Unfortunately, the consequences of buying a mis-sold timeshare property can be expensive and very difficult to exit from.
Common Tactics Employed
- Clients can be told that the special deal that is on offer is only available until the end of the day and after that the price will go up. This is rarely true.
- At times, clients are taken to isolated locations with no option to leave where they are subjected to high-pressured sales meetings that can last up to 10 hours.
- Clients are sometimes not given food, but are plied with alcohol during these long presentation meetings.
- Customers are not left alone, nor are allowed to leave presentations where they are often pressured by groups of sales people into signing a contract. It is a common theme that many clients end up signing contracts just to get away from the meeting.
- Clients are told that their timeshare is a good investment and will go up in value.
Common Lies Told Include...
- You can stay anywhere in the world for the same price.
- The timeshare property is an investment.
- The maintenance fees will not go up.
- The maintenance fees will only rise in-line with inflation.
- The resort will promise to buy back the property after so many years.
- It is not timeshare that they are buying, but another product.
The main issue that arises with timeshare property is the rising costs of maintenance fees year on year, which the client was not aware of when signing the contract. We regularly hear from clients who tell us that they are now paying up to 4-5 times more than they originally paid to begin with.
For example, one of our clients originally paid £300 a year in maintenance fees, which have now risen to over £1,000, after 8 years. Our client has used the timeshare property only a few times and due to ill health is no longer able to travel abroad. He is now tied into a contract for a timeshare property that he no longer uses, with yearly fees that are consistently increasing. This is a reoccurring theme that we hear from many clients.
Many of our clients have also told us that they have received threats from debt collection agencies for recovery of monies owed. This heavy-handed approach makes other clients wary about not paying their fees for fear of being harassed by debt collectors.
Another problem that goes unforeseen is the validity of the points or upgrade they have just been coerced into buying. Clients are convinced into thinking that the benefits to this will include:
- Making their timeshare property more flexible on dates
- Access to use the timeshare at premium times of the year
- Better exchange value – to use another timeshare property in another country or resort
- A more valuable timeshare property
Unfortunately, after the purchase of these points or ‘upgrades’, many clients have realised that their points are still not enough to acquire the holiday that they wanted and their timeshare is no more of a value but in fact more of a burden!
Many inventive schemes have arisen in order to extract more money out of people wishing to exit their timeshare contract. We have spoken to people who have been conned more than once and have ended up spending more money in order to escape their contract, only to find that they are still bound to their contract and yearly maintenance fees.
Here are some of the schemes that are used by some resorts and individual companies:
The Resale Scheme
You are informed that there is a specialised company that can sell your timeshare for you. You are charged excessive amounts of money in order to market your timeshare property….but you never manage to sell it. How unfortunate!
The Upsell Scheme
You are told that nobody wants to buy your timeshare property, and in order to be able to make it more valuable to others, you need to buy some more…really?? What actually happens is that you are still unable to sell your timeshare, your wallet has taken another hit and you have a bill for even more maintenance fees!
The Buy/Sell Scheme
This is where you are informed that you can exit your contract if you part-exchange your timeshare property for another product, which you are is not timeshare. Again you end up paying a lot of money for a product which has been mis-sold to you – and often you still own your original timeshare!!!
Cancelling your Timeshare Contract
What many buyers do not realise at the point of signing a contract is the difficulties they will experience when trying to get out of it. Many people believe it’s a simple fact of writing to the resort and letting them know they no longer wish to continue with their contract and that’s it. Most of the time, this does not work.
One very important thing to remember is to never write to the resort and give them a reason for cancelling. This is because they will find an opportunity to overturn your reasoning. This may also limit other avenues of cancelling your contract. Remember all correspondence with your resort will be recorded and may be used as evidence against you.
Some resorts have now cleverly realised that many timeshare owners want out of their contract and so, not to miss out on an opportunity to make money will state that they will allow owners to exit if they pay a fee up front.
The idea here is to recoup the maintenance fees they would have collected as the equivalent to the amount of money it would cost the resort the exit the client out of their contract.
Although some resorts say they will allow this, timeshare owners need to be very astute when studying the contract, by checking the terms and conditions for anything that may cause problems for them in the future.
If you want to exit your timeshare, do not contact the resort directly, as this will only give them an opportunity to ply you with more pressure selling and you may find you end up spending more money on the premise of exiting your contract only to find you have bought another product and are still lumbered with your timeshare.
Any legal advice should be sought from only a trusted source. Be careful about information learned online as at times, this can be inaccurate and could give you further problems.
Perpetuity in Terms of Inheritance
When timeshare exploded after its inception, one of the big selling points was that it could be left as an inheritance to buyer’s children. Most timeshares were sold in “perpetuity” which means – forever! How fabulous that their children would be able to benefit from holidays abroad each year and would only have to pay the maintenance fees. This was before they realised that the maintenance fees were not fixed but were in fact steadily and heavily climbing year on year.
Buyers eventually caught on that this was not an inheritance that they were leaving behind but a liability. And the children at the same time, don’t want to be tied to a resort or timeshare property – or be burdened with escalating maintenance fees. The problem is, it’s too late….the contract has already been signed and it’s legally binding. Also, refusal to accept that part of the inheritance will lead to complications and will deplete the value of the estate being left to inheritance. It is unlikely that the timeshare will be sold, and so the inheritor will be liable for maintenance fees until an exit solution is found.