Yesterday, I gave a bit of a rundown of our time share tour experience. Today I wanted to do a lessons learned post. I’m included somethings I remembered about the sales presentation and some consumer information I found from th Federal Trade Commission. As always, please share your stories and tips. The site is only as good as its readers.

How Time Share Tours Work to Sell

  • No business can expect a sale every time. For many marketing companies 2% conversion is a goal. Some sales people at our presentation were being push asking why did they bother to come. Two women we came with had to deal with a salesperson giving that argument. I thought of two reasons: 1. They were curious.   2. They came for the gift. To get angry at people for coming for the gift is a bit off. The resort and its partners are promoting the gifts. They have signs up and they have a script about how you’ll get the gift for ‘just doing the tour’. They even ask to see what the hotel told you about the program. They”re not in the dark. If they don’t like getting people who do the tour for the gift, then stop offering it. People offer food samples, because they hope (and have seen) that some will buy a me from them once in awhile. If not enough people buy, then they lose money and 9 out of 10 times stop giving samples.
  • Don’t lie to get the discount/gift. Everything with our person was upfront and we told each other what we expected. We’d get 2 discounted unlimited Universal passes if we did a 90 minute tour (which lasted longer). Both of us and the sales guy agreed to that. There was to be no requirement to buy.
  • Don’t let them use the kids card. Several times they asked if we had kids or wanted to have kids. Almost everyone used the option of willing the time share to the child when you die.
  • High pressure sales are typical with timeshare presentations; expect it. They sold the time share idea as buying real estate, but then needed a same day decision. Red flag went up with that option. Making a huge purchase and you have to do it now. My first reaction is pass. I just don’t want to go through buyer’s remorse. By the way, if you do sign a contract for a time share, federal law gives you a ‘cooling off’ period. Check The Federal Trade Commission‘s site for more information.
  • Get a contact name and number. I noticed that our salesperson told us they don’t give out cards because they are ineffective. The salesperson next to us said he moved offices and didn’t have one. If no one has contact information to give you, then pass. There’s no accountability for the sales people and that usually means you’ll get burned.

Federal Trade Commission on Time Shares

I was looking into the industry and came across something interesting. The Federal Trade Commission keeps track of consumers complaints on fraud. Here are the top 20:

1 Identity Theft 258,427 32
2 Shop-at-Home/Catalog Sales 62,811 8
3 Internet Services 42,266 5
4 Foreign Money Offers 32,868 4
5 Prizes/Sweepstakes and Lotteries 32,162 4
6 Computer Equipment and Software 27,036 3
7 Internet Auctions 24,376 3
8 Health Care Claims 16,097 2
9 Travel, Vacations, and Timeshares 14,903 2
10 Advance-Fee Loans and Credit Protection/Repair 14,342 2

Source: Federal Trade Commission

How to Handle Time Share Getaway Tours

Timeshares are included in the list and over 14,000 people had issues in just 2007. If you decide to purchase a timeshare, please consider the following tips.

1. Don’t make impulsive purchases based on aggressive sales people. It rarely works for your benefit. ignore the special that are ‘only available for today’.

2. Shop around to see the quality of the resort and the package. Many times you can find out what the Better Business Bureau has to say about them.

3. See how much comparable time shares are going for. It’s amazing what a glut of timeshares are up for sale.

4. Get EVERYTHING in writing. You’re making a big purchase and you want to make sure nothing trips you up.

Your Take

Please if you have more information or suggestions, leave a comment.

Photo Credit: spisharam- away