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8 Tips For Surviving A Timeshare Presentation

How to get through a timeshare presentation without losing your cool!

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8 Tips For Surviving a Timeshare Presentation

We’ve all been there - perhaps a friend has invited you to spend a few days at a time share. It’s free! But…you have to listen to a short presentation during your stay. Maybe you are on vacation and the only way to get tickets to the most popular attraction in town is to sign up for a tour of the new luxury condo development down the street (Hurry, or there won’t be any units left!). Perhaps you are interested in the fabulous gifts the telemarketer promised for just 90 minutes of your time. Maybe you are actually interested in buying a timeshare! My husband and I have attended dozens of timeshare and vacation plan presentations in cities all over the United States, and have seen every type of salesperson. Once we showed up for our appointment and were told that all of their sales reps were booked, so they gave us our gifts ($100 cash plus a gift certificate) and sent us on our way! We have endured the salesman who told us that he had plenty of money and didn't really need our business. We have also endured the high pressure salespeople who tried to guilt-trip us into buying. I have learned a lot along the way, and have some tips to help you survive your timeshare presentation with your sanity intact.

1. If you signed up for a presentation through a telemarketer, make sure you write down exactly what you were promised in exchange for your time. Get the person’s name, and if they are working for a contracted telemarketing agency, get the name of the agency. If you met the marketer in person, get their name and their local phone number, if possible. Write down exactly what the person promised in exchange for your time - you may need it later.

2. Yes, yes, yes! Timeshare sales representatives have a tried and true script which they always follow. This will almost always start with a few questions about your vacation habits. “Do you like to travel?” “What travel destinations do you prefer, or where would you like to travel next?” “How much money do you usually spend for hotels when you travel?” “How many days/weeks of vacation time do you take each year?” Know your answers to these questions before you go. The faster you answer these preliminary questions, the faster you can get back to enjoying your day. If asked whether you like to travel, save money, etc., just answer, "yes", and move on.

3. Timeshare salespeople are very good at what they do. They are trained to answer every possible concern you might have, and convince you that their product is ONLY way to travel. If your goal is simply to get through the presentation as quickly as possible, don’t offer any objections or concerns during the first part of the presentation. Just smile, nod, and tuck away any questions for later.

4. When you get through the part of the presentation in which they show you all of the locations they have worldwide, complete with large maps, videos, and glossy brochures, the next step is to show you a model unit. This is usually the most interesting part of the experience. You probably can’t skip it anyway, so just go along, enjoy, and make sure to ooh and aah over the granite countertops, spa baths, and luxury towels.

5. After the tour comes the sell. Here is where you can minimize your time. Once the salesperson has presented all of the figures, just politely tell him/her that it’s not for you. You don’t have to explain why. Remember, any objection you raise will be expected, and the salesperson will have an answer already prepared. To get through this part quickly, just keep saying “no thanks.”

6. If you do have any interest in possibly purchasing after the presentation, or even if you don’t, be aware that the first price they offer is never the final price! There will always be a second salesperson who will swoop in after the first one is done and offer you an even better deal. Never take the first offer! After the second salesperson will be a final step - the third and last salesperson. This person will offer you a “trial” membership for a much lower price, usually good for a year or two. After you are done with this step, they will give you your gifts.

7. If you are seriously considering a purchase and are wondering if it is cost effective, remember these tips:

a. Every time share unit will have monthly maintenance fees. When you are considering the yearly cost of your timeshare, don’t forget to add in the maintenance fee.

b. Don’t think you can avoid your maintenance fees by inviting your friends in for their own presentations. You will quickly run out of friends to invite and those pesky fees will still be there!

c. When calculating the cost of your time share unit versus the cost of a hotel, remember to consider the cost of the time share according to the number of days you will actually be vacationing. For example, if you are making monthly payments of $500 for your two week time share unit, plus monthly maintenance fees of $40, you are spending a total of $6,480.00 per year. That actually translates to $3240.00 per week of vacation time. Can you spend two weeks in a hotel each year for less than that? Of course! The unit will eventually be paid off, and that $500 payment will go away, but the maintenance fees will go on forever. At $480 per year, you are effectively spending $240 per week for maintenance fees, assuming two weeks’ vacation time. While you can’t get most hotels for $240 per week, you need to consider that when doing your calculations.

d. Don’t forget the transfer fees! If you are going to use your two weeks at a resort other than the one you bought, you may incur transfer fees. These are usually in the $70-$150 range. Now your two weeks’ lodging, after the unit is paid off, costs $300-$500 per week. Still cheaper than most hotels, but not free.

e. The younger you are when you buy the timeshare, the more you will get to enjoy it after you have finished paying for it. Still, you can enjoy quite a few years of vacationing for the money you will spend on your timeshare.

8. Make sure the gift you receive is what was promised. If not, let them know. See Paragraph 1. If you have a written record of your conversation it will help your case. We endured a two-hour presentation in Orlando only to be told at the end that we weren't supposed to get the Disney tickets we were promised. We politely but firmly stood up for ourselves, gave the name of the telemarketing company to whom we had spoken, and refused (again, politely) to accept anything other than what we were promised. We got our tickets, and had a great time at Epcot!

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