08.04.19



We were stopped for a Time Share Presentation



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There are many people that are happy with their timeshare. However, there are numerous people that are not. Much of this has to do with the sale tactics that are used to get people to purchase them on the spot. This is our story.


While in Orlando, by The Wheel at Icon Park, we were stopped to play a wheel game at a "tourist information booth" to win a random prize. That is always a red flag for me, and I definitely knew what was coming next, but we had a little time to kill so we decided to go with it. We won a coupon book (which seemed to be the prize for every win) and the rep asked us if we were interested in going to any of the parks. He mentioned a few and we both perked up with Sea World. He offered us Sea World tickets and a free lunch in exchange for a 90 minute tour of a new resort that Wyndham was opening. That was a lie. We knew it was a timeshare presentation. We had no obligation to buy.


I have always avoided these presentations, but we decided to say yes for a few reasons. We had an open day and the meeting was in the morning. We would have breakfast, lunch, and tickets to Sea World.

But mainly, it was we wanted to have the experience so that we could write about it.


Our plan, was to go to the early meeting, eat breakfast, which we were told was part of the meeting, and then still enjoy most of the day at Sea World.





Our day begins



On Sunday morning we got up and took a Lyft to the meeting. Uber would not work well from our hotel. They kept getting lost because the hotel was only a few months old and their system didn't recognize the location. We arrived what we thought was a few minutes late, but there was a huge line of people waiting to get in.


They registered us and asked us to wait in another room where there was a coffee machine with very small cups.


Here they matched us up with one representative and took us into another room where we were to be given a presentation. They break you up into groups of about 50. There were other presentations in other rooms in various languages. They try their best to target their audience.


They sat us at tables with our reps and pointed out the breakfast. Basically, a wrapped pastry, more coffee, and juice.


Before the presentation, they asked us to turn off our phones. They said this is so that they wont have interruptions, but it's also so that you wont find stories like this one.


I have to say, It was a great presentation. It was funny and informational. It made sense. Even though we knew the dangers of timesharing, we really enjoyed the presentation. They know that most people come in there with the intention of saying no, and many of them change their minds, It's all part of the plan.


By the end of this meeting, the 90 minutes were almost up, still no tour.





Once the meeting was over, our personal rep had a long conversation with us, and then took us out on the tour. Teachers tend to be one of the people that they like to focus on because we fall right in the middle of their target income bracket. The rep interviewed us asking us what seemed to be innocent questions. However, this was an information gathering session. This is where they get the information that they will later use against you.


We went well passed our 90 minutes with this interview. But we were interested in the conversation. He was not trying to sell us anything. Not yet.



The tour



The rep walked us through the beautiful resort, and into a tower where he took us to the top floor. Here he took us through three different units, a condo, 2 bedroom, and a master suite. They were quite impressive. The resort was well kept, not really our style. However, it was not new.


There were tours everywhere! Waves and waves of them. The amount of people that they get everyday is astonishing. They also do a very good job at keeping you away from everyone. Other than that initial meeting, they try to keep you away from everyone else. This is the only time, I felt free to take pictures.







The Sales Pitch



After the tour we went back to the initial building and this is when the sales pitch really began. By this time, we had been there for 3 hours and counting. They put a lot of pressure on us to buy. They tried to get my wife and I to turn on each other. According to them, we would not be buying a time share, but we would be buying points that we could use anywhere in the world. They mentioned that we can pass the points to our children. That it would mean a lifetime of travel.


They would not take no for an answer. I told them that I do not make rash decisions. That if their product was good enough I would be able to return and get it after I did the research. They said that all the perks would not be there because they promised all the companies that it would be a one time offering. They make it seem like if you don't grab it now you will never again have this opportunity in your lifetime.


I told them that I did not care about their little incentives. Just like buying a car, I was going to walk out of there even if I liked the deal. How do I know there is not something better when I walk out of the door?


Then, I got the notification on the phone that they checked my credit.


Now I am sure that I gave them permission somewhere to do so, but it bothered me that they didn't verbally ask. They were definitely not upfront with that information.


They did not mention that as time goes by, it takes more points to book rooms. They did not mention all the fees attached to time share ownership. They did not mention that they force you to upkeep your unit. They did not mention that most people regret buying their timeshares.


After 4 hours, I pretty much made it clear that I wasn't buying. This is when they offered us weeks of vacation, a cruise, $20 thousand to use on vacations. I said no to everything. How bad could the product be that you had to bribe people in such a way?


It was a clear no, the sales people left... but it was not over quite yet



The second wave



Afterwards, another rep came in and she was much nicer, it seemed like she was just gathering some information. She asked us how close we were to purchasing. We both told her a 7. She asked what were our concerns, and we told her our feelings. Also, I mentioned the whole credit check situation. they definitely lost our trust at that point.


She then offered us a deal where we would purchase points without ownership. We would basically get all the perks of traveling but without all the downfalls of a timeshare. She told us that they did this in order for us to eventually become owners, so that there were many positives about the program. We would still have to go through another presentation, but it would not be as intense as this one.


We went for it.



Our Day at Sea World



When we accepted we were given a book with all the points needed to book each resort. That information would have been very helpful when the product is being sold. They also gave us a bag to carry the book in. It was rather large. We could not walk around Sea World with all this extra baggage.


We took a Lyft back to our hotel in the opposite direction. Dropped off the book, and then another Lyft to Sea World. It was really hot that day, we had not eaten lunch because the meeting took so long. 5 hours. We were running on a pastry.


We are not going to knock Sea World. We were not in the mood. It would not be fair. However, the lunch that was provided for free was sub-par. We were not satisfied whatsoever. Even if this program was a great deal, we didn't want to take any more chances. Everything they offered us at this point was disappointing. We started to look up as much information as possible.








Rescinding your Time Share



The program we entered was a good deal. Many people spoke well of it. However, there was one problem. We were able to find better deals online from owners that were desperate to get some return on their investments. Once we saw this, we decided to rescind our time share.


You can find them on Craig's List and Ebay.


Many people are not aware that you have a short period of time to cancel your contract. The amount of time you have depends on the state where you signed your contract. In Florida, you have 10 days. We sent a letter as soon as we arrived back home. We made sure to send it certified mail. They are not under any obligation to respond to us, so we just hope that it works.


We will keep you posted.



Resources



Use these links if you are going through a similar experience, or if you are doing research before attending a timeshare presentation.


Federal Trade Commission

Timeshare Users Group

Findlaw

USA Today Article

Rescinding your timeshare



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