The Temptation Of The Timeshare


by Kathy Pape – December 15, 2010

Taking the Bait to Claim the Prize

Owning a timeshare in an exotic place for next to nothing sounds like an easy sell, don’t you think?  But then why are timeshare companies so notorious for enticing unassuming vacation goers with too good to be true incentives just to get them to listen to their sales pitch?  We all know of someone who has a timeshare, but what does that really mean, and how much does it REALLY cost? Are timeshares worth the investment?  And even if you don’t plan on purchasing one, is it worth it to sit in on the hour long sales pitch just to get the fabulous prizes?

In It to Win It!

When my husband Alex filled out the entry form to win a new car, we had no idea that we were actually entering the aggressive world of timeshare sales!   It turns out that timeshare companies actually set up these types of contests in order to get your contact information – who knew?!  Of course we didn’t win a car, but we did win a free stay in Hawaii and two free airline tickets within the continental U.S.  The catch?  We had to sit through a timeshare presentation before claiming our prizes…

What Is a Timeshare?

When you own a timeshare you have purchased the ability to stay in a fully furnished resort condominium, usually in one-week increments, for a fraction of the price of owning a vacation home.  Once the timeshare is paid off, which could take years of monthly payments, you own the deed outright, and can will it to family and friends.  Sounds pretty good…

The Timeshare Point System

One of the BIGGEST perks of owning a timeshare is that in many cases you don’t have to vacation in the same condo every year, but can often trade for destinations all over the world!  The trades are based on a point system, so it’s important to own a timeshare in a desirable location such as Hawaii, Park City, Orlando or Las Vegas.  That way you have more points,  making it easier to trade your location for the destination of your choice.  For example, owning a week in Hawaii during the winter will give you more points than owning a timeshare in Oklahoma during tornado season… You get the idea!

Buyer Beware

Our friends Ron and Jen know all too well that timeshare presentations are aggressive, high-pressure sales pitches. They woke up after a drunken night on their honeymoon only to discover they had purchased a timeshare the night before!  When they confronted the people that they felt like they had been scammed, and that they couldn’t afford the fees, they were told- “tough luck-  you signed on the dotted line”!  SO– If you attend a timeshare presentation, and you’re not a serious buyer, prepare yourself to say NO! The sales seduction techniques can be shockingly convincing at these events- even for the most frugal vacationers!

The Set Up

Here’s what they told Alex and me…

Timeshare owners have FUN simply because they vacation more than you do.   They are more rested and they have better lives because they own timeshares! (Who knew finding happiness was this easy!) The pitch typically happens in a room with as many as 20 other couples attending.  They pump up the cruise ship music to get you into the ‘I need a vacation’ spirit.  Everything is meant to distract you and pressure you into being envious that other couples are getting some amazing deal…

Each couple is paired with a sales person who begins by asking a million questions.  When was your last vacation?  Where did you go?  How much money did you spend?   Where you would go on your dream vacation?   How long would that vacation be?  Would you bring the kids?  How much vacation time do you expect to take over the rest of your life?  How much money do you think you’ll spend on those vacations?

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