Whether or not you are a timeshare owner, however, you may find yourself coming across the infamous timeshare salesperson on your trip. Sometimes, these salespeople can become a real nuisance when you’re just trying to enjoy a break, and if you have already paid out good money for your timeshare week, the last thing you want is a salesperson on your trail trying to entice you into an upgrade.
Unfortunately, however, this is just what happens. For thousands of holidaymakers every year, timeshare salespeople can be a bother. They can also be very tricky in the ways they use to lure you into their sales pitch.
If you are an existing timeshare owner, you are probably already well-aware of the tactics used to sell you your timeshare. It may have been a purchase you were happy to make, and you may still be perfectly happy with your timeshare. However, the fact that you’ve already paid out for a timeshare doesn’t make you immune from the charms of the sneaky salesperson.
It is common to be presented with upgrade offers, extra weeks, exclusive deals and so on, sold as a means to ‘enhance’ your holiday experience. Just as when you initially purchased your timeshare, you should think carefully and take your time before agreeing to any added extras. Additional costs may push your budget too far, so you must be entirely sure before you take on any new expenses. Also be warned that these supposed ‘upgrades’ are not always what they seem, without much of real value actually materialising despite the extra money spent.
How timeshare sales tactics work
There are several different tactics for timeshare sales. Some are old and well-known, whilst others are more recent additions to the repertoire.
The oldest trick in the book is the scratchcard tout. People offering free or cheap scratchcards on the beach or round the resort or local area will approach you. When you scratch the surface, you find you have (surprise, surprise) won a free gift! These can be pretty enticing – things like electrical goods and devices – but have traditionally been a bottle of booze or carton of cigarettes. To claim your prize, you have to attend the sales presentation.
Most timeshare sales tactics centre on the ultimate goal of getting you into that presentation suite, with free gifts regularly being the method used to do so. The scratchcard trick may be the oldest (and nowadays the least effective) but other free gift offers may turn up, too. When you arrive at your resort, for example, you may be enthusiastically told that a free gift is waiting for you, telephoned about it in your hotel room, or approached whilst basking by the pool or hanging out at the bar. These gifts can be as tempting as a free holiday offer, but they all amount to the same thing – a presentation, followed by high-intensity sales pitches.
If you have been the unfortunate target of a salesperson, and have been enticed into a timeshare sales pitch, your struggles are far from over.
The presentation may be much longer than you’d initially been told. 60-90 minutes can easily become half a day or more of exhausting boredom. You’ll be forced to look at graphs and tables, endless photos of gorgeous resorts and scenery, and all sorts of appealing rhetoric. The salespeople will often make claims like it is ‘the best offer they have ever seen’ and make you feel like you are getting a special offer that no others will get. They may say it’s for ‘one day only’ and that if you don’t sign up today you’ll be missing out. All the while, the sun is blazing away outside and you’re stuck in here, thinking you’d do just about anything to get out.
Leaving isn’t always an option. You can try – and by all means you are free to go – but they will make it pretty hard to do so, and you know they’ll be back to try and lure you into another presentation before long anyway.
After The Presentation
Finally, you will be let out of the presentation. Now, however, it’s time for the salesperson’s next move.
As these presentations are taking place whilst you are on holiday, you are already in a great mood and enjoying being away in the sun, and this, of course, makes you think of future holidays and how you want this experience again.
Timeshare salespeople are trained in using tactics to close deals on the day. The fast-paced environment of a sales pitch that inevitably follows that gruelling sales presentation leaves little time to weigh up your options and you can find yourself bamboozled into signing up to a legally binding document, with little thought. The last thing they want is for you to go away to think about the product or the price before you commit to the sale.
Whilst, in the presentation, you did at least have some time inside your own head to sketch out doubts and pick up on shortcomings in what you’re being told, once you’re in front of the salesperson one on one, it’s a different matter. They will behave like they are an old friend, ask you lots of questions, charm you, joke with you. They will, of course, be sizing you up. How likely are you to submit? How much do they think you can afford?
It’s unlikely they’ll go straight for the kill. There’ll be this charming warm-up patter first, before the idea of actually signing the dotted line is even hinted at. It is only once they feel they’ve earned your trust that they will start introducing the actual pitch. It’s all very subtle and seems entirely innocent, but the ultimate aim is to get you signed up so they can claim their lucrative commission.
That is why the ‘cooling-off period’ law was introduced. It means that you have 14 days (up to three months, in actuality) to change your mind and cancel your contract after signing it with no consequences. If any money is taken during this period, the law has been broken. If you are not made aware of this law or it is made difficult for you to cancel during this period, this is also the case. Remember this if you find yourself convinced into signing a timeshare contract whilst on holiday – it may save your bacon when the reality sets in.
A timeshare sale is not a small purchase, although these sales tactics can make it seem like it’s no big deal. A timeshare sale should be treated in the exact same way as buying a house or a car. You need to have time to weigh up your finances for both now and for future upkeep, think about your options in case this isn’t the right purchase for you, discuss with family and review all of the contracts and terms and conditions.
Bear this firmly in mind, for it is commonplace for salespeople to offer you the opportunity to apply for a loan to finance your timeshare purchase right there on the spot. This is another part of the timeshare sales pitch that is fraught with problems. There have been a number of recent high profile cases involving loans companies as well-known entities such as Barclays Partner Finance, which came under legal scrutiny for financing loans for timeshare without performing proper due diligence. People who could not, in truth, afford the repayments were carelessly awarded finance amounting to tens of thousands of pounds in order to purchase timeshare. So, in addition to the annual maintenance fees that they would be charged for their timeshare, they also became responsible for monthly payment instalments for the loan which were not within their ability to pay.
Worse still, those upon whom timeshare sales people most often prey are the elderly and vulnerable, those who they see as easiest to convince. These are often individuals subsisting on a small pension, who actually do not have many more years left in which they will reasonably be able to take holidays abroad. Clearly, this is an absolute travesty, which has been likened to elder abuse. Be sure to let your older relatives and friends know about these timeshare sales tactics before they go away on holiday – it is much better to be safe than sorry.
Many people and when they return home to real life and realise they were pressured into the financially burdening purchase by trained professionals. Remember that cooling-off period law that will protect you in cases like these.
If you are reading this as somebody who has been a victim of aggressive timeshare sales tactics in the past and feel that you were hounded into a purchase that you could not afford, did not want, or which was misrepresented to you at the time, you could be eligible for timeshare compensation. Contact our team of timeshare experts to explain your circumstances and find out more about what you could be entitled to.
See our recent post regarding timeshare holiday products.
If you feel like you have been a victim of a timeshare sales tactic, please fill out the form below and we can advise you on your next move.