Having recently been shopping and asked if she would like the chance to win a food gift voucher, Mrs X quickly jumped at the chance and completed the information required. In turn, she receives a phone call from “Hannah” at FantaSea Resorts congratulating her on winning a travel package.

The package consisted of four airline tickets up to the value of $4,500, a weekend at an East Coast resort and more. “All you have to do is come to Atlantic City to pick up your gift,” Hannah said. The penny dropped. Mrs X asked, “This is a timeshare pitch, isn’t it?”

Mrs X was told, “There’s no obligation to buy.” All you would have to do is show up at the Flagship resort with your ID, a credit card and sit through a 3-hour presentation.

Mr & Mrs X had never been to Atlantic City, but at the same time they had absolutely no interest in a timeshare, however, the break and the airline tickets sounded too good to be true. So, they weakened and decided to go.

Feeling excited about their little break they told friends what they were doing, having been warned by everyone about how persuasive the sales representatives could be, Mr & Mrs X had made a decision to stay firm and not to get sucked in. Mrs X did however, start to get slightly nervous. What if the sales representative was so persuasive that she didn’t realise until it was too late? The couple arrived Saturday morning and were seated in a conference room surrounded by dozens of other couples at tables, all receiving the same pitch.

The sales rep questioned the couple about their usual family holidays and asked about their travel desires, annual travel budget, what they like to do, where they like to go and when was their next trip, the couple commented they would like to visit “Argentina, Venice or The Carolinas.”

The couple were told that if they purchased a timeshare in Atlantic City, they could exchange it for timeshares around the world, Jamaica, Hawaii and Paris were among the destinations to name but a few.

All the pitches were intermittently interrupted by a master of announcements. A manager with a microphone would appear announcing the stars who’d be performing in Atlantic City in coming weeks, such as Sting, Smokey Robinson and Santana, followed by birthdays and anniversaries celebrations. Also, each time a contract was signed there would be another announcement welcoming the latest signing to the ‘Flagship family’ requesting a round of applause, the room would erupt.

They were eventually shown more than two hours into the presentation a one-bedroom suite which they could potentially buy into. It was luxurious, with marble worktops, ocean views, a breezy balcony and a king-sized bed.

The previous night the couple had met a lady called Theresa Clinton, 50, who’d bought a timeshare more than a decade before. “I never thought I’d buy one,” she said before rattling off a dozen places she’d vacationed. “I love it.”

The couple were fast approaching three hours at the Flagship Resort when the sales rep finally came up with the figures. The one-bedroom timeshare which they had earlier shown to the couple would cost around $23,000 for 1 week, plus monthly maintenance and annual management costs.

After the figures were presented to the clients they were even less inclined to continue with the presentation. Having informed the rep the price offered was well over budget and that they had no interest to buy the sales rep then called for his ‘manager’ who appeared and informed the couple that in fact, he had a timeshare resale for $13,000.

The couple stood firm and thanked them for their time. Explaining that even at the reduced price, the annual payments for the next seven years exceeded what they spend annually on travel. Finally, the dejected sales rep let them go and gave them their gift package.

The couple did receive the tickets albeit they come with conditions such as they must use the same agency to book accommodation and must book giving ample notice. The couple were happy to take the risk of not getting battered down and pressurised into signing for something that would affect them financially in the future. Mrs X commented she would have been happy with the free foods gift voucher which she thought she was entering for in the first instance.

Posted on: December 4, 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

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