“…the U.S. timeshare industry increased for the 8th straight year by nearly 4% from $9.2 billion in 2016 to $9.6 billion in 2017.” Foundation, 2018
Timeshare Sales on the Rise
Nobody wakes up one morning and decides to buy a timeshare, but a growing number of consumers spend an average of $21,000 to contribute to this multi-billion-dollar industry.
Timeshare purchases occur every day somewhere in the world: North America, Europe, Central and South America, Mexico, Caribbean Islands and Asia.
Many clueless consumers are lured into taking a timeshare sales presentation by mail marketing campaigns, on the phone, or while on vacation. They buy them in the city, on beach fronts, in ski resorts, in theme parks and now on cruise ships.
Consumers buy primarily for two reasons: Firstly, it is due to the alluring gifts offered by the developers. Timeshare resorts have been offering discounted accommodations (called minivacs) in exchange for travelers or vacationers to attend a timeshare presentation. This tactic converts into a high percentage of new owners.
Secondly, it is because of the sales and marketing staff. They are trained to gain the potential clients’ trust, identify their dominant buying motives, and present an offer that makes financial sense. The industry’s motto is “sell on emotion, and close on logic,” and it works.
In the United States alone, the timeshare industry continues to skyrocket despite the negative image it has earned over the years.
However, the demographics of the market have changed substantially in the last 20 years. Timeshares were generally purchased by the elderly or the nearly retired. Now, the demographics have changed drastically and are attracting younger families with higher incomes and more ethnic groups.
Despite this growth in the timeshare industry, many timeshare owners later regret their decisions and are paying emotionally and financially for this on the spot purchase.
Like any other industry, there are shocking secrets within the timeshare community that consumers are not supposed to know to protect the profits of the companies and the industry. There would be legal ramifications if consumers knew what really goes on.
Here are 2 of The 13 Shocking Secrets of The Timeshare Industry that consumers should know about before they buy, sell or dispose of their unwanted timeshares.
Many Timeshare Companies Do Not Own Properties
That's right. Many timeshare companies do not own the resorts where they sell their timeshares. They are owned by separate corporations and simply have an agreement with the timeshare companies to use some their rooms.
When the members try to use their timeshares through the resort network or the exchange company, many find it very difficult because the timeshare has a limited inventory at that property. Consequently, there are a plethora of online complaints toward the company because there is no availability where and when owners want to vacation.
In the case of SECRETS, ZOETRY, DREAMS, BREATHLESS, NOW and SUNSCAPE Resorts in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, they are a collection by AmResorts. The company that sells the timeshare is Unlimited Vacation Club, a travel club, and they do not own any of the resorts. Consumers who purchase a UVC membership at these resorts are buying nothing more than an overpriced travel club membership that costs between $10,000 to $80,000.
According to the contracts, the legal entity for Unlimited Vacation Club is in Panama. Although it is a Florida based company, travel club members who want to mediate any legal action against the company must go to Panama.
Similarly, Prestige Travelers at Karisma Resorts and TravelSmart Travel Club in Mexico and in the Caribbean islands also do not own any of the resorts.
85% of all Buyers Regret Their Purchase (For Money, Fear, Confusion, Intimidation, Distrust and Other Reasons)
According to a Redweek article, Dr. Amy Gregory, assistant professor at the University of Florida who has been studying the impact of buyer regret and remorse and rescission decisions, many timeshare buyers regret their decisions. “A whopping 85 percent of all buyers regret their purchase (for money, fear, confusion, intimidation, distrust and other reasons).” (Jeff Weir, 2017)
The article mentions that 15% of timeshare buyers rescind and is a norm for the industry, according to Jeff Weir and Dr. Gregory. Although Dr. Gregory’s research includes “interfering information” that causes purchasers to cancel during this period, she doesn’t mention the internal tricks that resorts use to prevent people from cancelling.
When guests express a desire to cancel, the manager or closer involved in the sale will attempt to talk them out of it. This attempt could involve lowering the purchase price, offering more gifts, reminding them of the dominant reasons they purchased, or lying to prevent them from cancelling during the rescission period. For many, this conversation could be intimidating and embarrassing for many new purchasers who befriended the sales persons involved.
Once the rescission period is over, the purchaser has lost their original deposit and would be liable for full payment. The sales person is usually not concerned about the customer service once the sales is complete.
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