February 7, 2015 — We, and by that I mean ITG (Inside The Gate), were recently offered an opportunity by one of our industry’s very trusted ‘insiders’ – mostly on the consumer side of the equation – to possibly participate in a highly regarded nationally syndicated ‘blog’ about timeshares. After some thought and research it was decided ITG would decline the gracious offer for a variety of reasons.
So Here’s The Scoop: For example we discovered that there seems to be a lot of confusion out in the consumer universe as to the differences between a legitimate travel club, a travel club that is purely a scam in order to fleece people out of their money and a duly (e.g.) registered, insured, bonded and lawful timeshare plan being marketed and sold adhering to all statutory requirements.
Often consumers compare travel clubs Vs a timeshare plan as if they are both (e.g.) Red Delicious Apples, but when they bite into them, so to speak, the buyers soon realize one travel club is more like a Valencia Orange – and the other travel club is like a sour lemon!
There also seems to be no shortage of consumer advocates online these days with blogs and/or websites decrying the evils of most travel clubs and many timeshare developers’ vacation plans; and in both cases they often moan and groan mostly about the evil sales reps who sold them.
Part of the problem originates from within our industry as some timeshare plans often refer to themselves as being or having a ‘travel club’ component, so when John Q Public becomes a TS owner/member that adds to the confusion.
Of all the complaints in the wireless cosmos about travel clubs and/or timeshares, as I said, a big chunk of them seem to focus on the (e.g.) ‘…unscrupulous, sleaze-bag, low-rent, bottom-feeding evil-dwelling sales reps who lied through their teeth…’
Well I’m here to set that record straight because the vast majority of all ‘TIMESHARE’ reps are straight shooters and do not misrepresent their vacation ownership/membership plans to their sales guests.
Yes, there are ‘evil’ timeshare sales reps in the world who would lie to their Grandmother to make a deal happen but those knuckle-dragging, scumbag a-holes are not exclusive to the timeshare industry (or the legitimate travel clubs).
Take your pick from insurance company sales reps to car lot sales people or how about the sales people peddling electronic devices or home improvement gadgets or all those TV commercials from corporate America that depict or feature mostly the glitter while burying and/or not disclosing the reality of the products and/or services they’re hawking on TV, in print, over the radio, etc. and doing so 24/7/365?
Indeed, I could post a very long list of the deceptive sales and marketing practices that we are all inundated with on a daily basis in nearly countless numbers and from all corners of the business community.
But to keep with ‘the biz’ — specifically when it comes to purchasing a timeshare plan as well as a legitimate travel club (or the ones that are outright scams) — the vast majority of the time the real issue is the amount of money involved with ‘buying’ and not what some sales person said or did not say during the sales presentation.
If, for example, a two week (or points equivalent) timeshare ownership/membership plan (or travel club) for 25 years cost only $79.00 to ‘join’, had an annual maintenance or admin fee of $15 and a weekly exchange fee of $3.50 some buyers would still have issues with their sales rep, the program, etc. and they’d complain about those ‘issues’ and timidly try to cancel.
However, when it comes to a (e.g.) $25,000 TS plan that requires a few thousand dollars down, a high interest rate, hundreds of dollars in payments each month for several years plus the annual maintenance fees averaging about $800 per ‘week’ and a couple hundred dollars for each week exchanged they’re not so timid with their grievances, complaints and attempts to cancel.
And in many cases those buyers are that way because during the presentation they bought the vacationing ‘dream’ as they rightfully believed (like millions of other people around the world) they, too, deserved and wanted a better vacationing lifestyle and traveling experience for their families.
Unfortunately, sometimes — maybe an hour after they sign on the dotted line, a day or two later, a week or beyond — either buyer’s remorse rears its ugly head or ‘someone’ tells them they made a grave mistake or their financial situation, work and/or lifestyles changes, etc. and they begin desperately seeking a way to terminate their obligation.
They’ve been victimized, or so ‘some’ have convinced themselves and everyone else who will listen to them, using that as a tactic in a desperate attempt to cancel their debt by blaming someone or something else for their very own personal choice and ‘grown-up’ purchase decision.
Good Luck Out There
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Contributing sometimes extravagant, bombastic, emotional, pompous or even pretentious writings about the timeshare industry, Scoop covers an array of industry related subjects each week including inside information, tips, scandals, interviews, forecasts as well as new (good or bad) products and services — and, of course, all the ‘Good’, the ‘Bad’ and the ‘Ugly’.