We at TCA have recently been privy to a sad story of a timeshare scam that has affected the consumer in more ways than they could ever realise.
A couple were enticed into a timeshare presentation with the promise of a cheap holiday and $75 spending money, all they had to do was attend the presentation and listen to the proposal.
The couple decided to attend, thinking that it was an offer they couldn’t refuse. They turned up and were taken into the presentation room where immediately they were approached by a salesperson. The sales person was friendly and very informative, giving background information on the company and starting softly by talking them through the types of holidays they liked and the opportunity that lay ahead. It was stated straightaway that this was not ‘timeshare’ and the couple began to really listen with interest in what they were being told. Personal stories were shared and a relationship was being built between the couple and the salesperson. The couple stated later that this was the point where they started to be ‘lured’ in.
They were taken to look around the resort and shown examples of the rooms that would be offered to them. At this time the sales person started to discuss the ‘points’ process and how this worked and explaining how the couple would use their ‘points’. They were told of the countless beautiful locations they could use their ‘points’ in and told by the salesperson that they had an opportunity to make some money as well. In a ‘side’ conversation they were told that they could purchase the last-minute weeks with for $199 and re-sell them on at double the price or even more. The salesperson said ‘I shouldn’t be telling you this but….’ And made the couple feel as though they were in his confidence and he had their best interests at heart.
They were then advised that a ‘soft’ credit check would be made if they were interested, and that this wouldn’t influence their credit rating. The couple agreed to the credit check and it came back as good to go.
They still had a lot of reservations and were not 100% convinced they wanted to buy in to this ‘opportunity’ and discussed the monthly payments they would have to make and if there were any additional and raised queries regarding the cancellation process. Answers were given for all the concerns that were raised, saying that it was only the monthly payments and if they chose to cancel their contract the company would buy back the ‘points’ from them.
At this point the couple were struggling with their toddler, who by this time was getting very irate and unruly. They decided that they wanted to leave the presentation because of their child and asked if they could think about it over night and come back to them the following day. At this point the salesperson became pushy and started talking about money, the customers were offered a deal that was too expensive for them, so the customer’s refused. They then lowered the price significantly, this came with lower ‘points’ but they were told they could have a ‘bonus bundle’ and this was a one day offer only. They decided to sign, thinking that they could cancel when they’d had a chance to look over everything but needing to get their child out of that room.
Two months on the couple have now found out about additional annual fees that they weren’t made aware of and have tried to cancel their contract – guess what… they can’t! They have been told they will still need to pay the monthly payments, the annual fees and in five (!) years time the company will buy back the points from them for 20% of their value!
That isn’t the worst part – the bank has now told them that they can’t have a mortgage because the purchase of the timeshare ‘points’ has in fact had a negative effect on their credit rating. A very sorry tale indeed.
To top it all off, they have also been told that the ‘points’ they have bought don’t even cover a week stay in one of the company’s locations.
Be careful out there folks, there are people who will suck you in and spit you out without a second thought.
Posted on: March 14, 2017
For more information regarding this article or assistance in any other timeshare related issues please contact the TCA on 0203 519 3808 or email: info@TimeshareConsumerAssociation.org.uk