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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Vacation Timeshare Scams

I hate monthly fees with a passion: car payment, mortgage, cell phone, Internet service, etc... Thank god I didn't fall for the greatest one of them all... The timeshare scam.

I recently went to such a presentation in Cancun at the Sunset Lagoon. I'm a sucker for free stuff, I guess. All in all the thing was pretty civil, although emotionally draining. I got no complaints against the sales people. This is their job. Then again it is a lousy job in my opinion. To be fair I did change their names in this post to hide their true identities.

"This is not a time share," Jose the time share sales representative claimed.

"Ok..."

We just got done touring Sunset Lagoon and the Sunset Resort rooms. The rooms and facilities were beautiful. The views were amazing. It was definitely impressive, but I had a feeling it was out of our reach financially. Jose brings out a piece of paper with some numbers on it. It looks like there's different financing information. The $90,000 sales figure at the top catches my eyes. I visibly hesitate. This is definitely out of our reach.

"Seriously, it's not. This is a good deal. Ninety thousand! This is something that you own. You are part owner," says Jose with a huge grin.

"I know, but I don't have that kind of money!"

"Ninety thousand. It sounds like a lot, but this is vacation! You will more than spend that amount on vacation throughout your life. Plus we have financing. Four weeks per year! This is a great deal. It's only good today. Hold on a second."

Jose starts drawing something on a piece of paper. It looks like two boxes with a bunch of arrows. He whips out his calculator and shows me how much we will spend on vacation our whole lives if we spent as much as we did on this vacation. He also points wildly at the paper and writes down some numbers.

"Two weeks every year, thirty years.... You would easily spend $150,000 vacationing the way you are now."

"Wow. That's a lot of money."

"Yes. You are throwing away money. But this... This is 4 weeks of vacation a year for life at $90,000! This is a good deal. Six hundred a month with financing! You would take the financing right?"

"Yeah. I guess."

"Most people take the financing."

But we don't usually vacation all that much. Maybe a week tops. I don't get much time off."

I feel somewhat ashamed admitting this. It's like I'm poor or something. I feel defective.

"Well, you can always sell back the weeks you don't use."

"I guess. Jose, it's still a lot of money."

"Hold on a second, let me talk to my manager. I like you guys. We can still make this work."

He walks away and comes back a few minutes later.

"I just talked to my manger. This offer is only good today. How about 2 weeks a year at $45,000? Does that sound better?"

"Sure. I guess..."

"This is 2 weeks for $45,000. Vacation for life! You don't have to stay at this resort. You can trade through our parent company. Italy, France, Spain, throughout the USA and Canada. How does Germany sound?"

"Good. I would like to go some day."

"Mike, how much do you spend on vacation in a year?"

"Well, we don't go every year."

"How much did you spend on this trip?"

"I dunno. I guess around $2,200 including airfare."

"Hmmm... That is pretty good. But this is for life. Prices on hotels will always go up. Our fees won't. The price never goes up. The price is $90,000. Four weeks a year. There's no hidden fees. You saw the accommodations. Very nice, right?"

"Yeah. They were," I admitted.

"Well, you plan on vacationing for 40-50 years?"

"Sure. I guess."

"This is a good deal. You can't afford not to do it. This will easily pay off in 20-25 years! You will be an owner. This isn't a timeshare."

"I don't know. How much will this cost per month?"

He gets out his calculator and punches up some numbers and shows me the result.

"Look! Only $325 dollars a month! The deposit is $15,000. Isn't that doable?"

"I don't know. I guess if we had the money, but we are saving up for a house right now and my wife is in school."

"Well, you can always sell the weeks that you aren't using. You won't lose any money."

"Yeah. I know. You told me that before, but how hard is it to do that?"

"Not hard at all. People do it all the time."

"I don't know. It still won't cover the $325 fee per month."

"No. Not all of it."

"Is there a fee to sell a week?"

"Yes. There is a small fee. I'm not sure how much."

"I don't know. We can't do $325 a month. We have bills. My wife is in school right now. It's not doable."

"Hold on a second. Let me call over my manager."

The greasiest guy I've seen since 1987 shows up and sits down at the table across from me.

"Jose, what's going on here," he asks.

"Michael says that $325 is too much."

"Too much! Did you explain everything? The accommodations? The benefits? The fact that you can travel anywhere? You can sell the weeks you don't use?"

"Yes. Yes. Yes. He said.... He said that they can't afford it right now."

At this moment, I thought Jose was going to cry. Tears were welling up in his eyes. The greasy guy is holding together pretty well. He clears his throat and adjusts his tie.

"Hmmmm.... Hold on. Let me go to my office. There was a for sale by owner that came in about 20 minutes ago."

The greasy guy leaves and comes back a minute later.

"OK guys. How does $200 a month sound?"

The greasy guy pushes a piece of paper over to me. There's some numbers. I have no idea what I'm looking at. I have no idea what is included in this new package.

"Better. But our finances are spoken for right now. Perhaps if my wife wasn't in school. It's a shame. It sounds like a good deal."

Greasy guy and Jose continue to talk it over. They present different financing schemes. They draw different things on the piece of paper. Boxes! Arrows! Arrows that connect to boxes.

The room is spinning. My wife and I want to leave, but we are trapped. We stopped listening 20 minutes a go. We just want the free tickets to the excursion of our choice. This is murder. The greasy guy excuses himself. He says that he needs to go to the bathroom.

"Mike, there is another option. We have a 15 year vacation plan for $10,000. I don't like it that much, because you don't own anything," says Jose.

"What does that entail," I ask.

"Well... It isn't very popular, because you are not an owner. Some of the perks are not present as in the other deal."

"Ummm... OK."

"The rooms aren't as nice as in the other plan, but it is still very good. It's only one week per year though. You can always upgrade to our regular plans."

"OK...."

"Would you be interested?"

"Jose, I would, but we just can't right now. Maybe in a few years, but we can't. I'm sorry."

Jose sighs. He looks tired. Is it possible that a man can age 20 years in 3 hours? Jose looks like he got hit by a train.

"Ok. I'm sorry. If you don't have the finances, you don't have the finances. I'm sorry. It was good meeting you. I will take you to Franco."

He walks us to another room and introduces us to Franco and leaves. Franco looks at the gibberish that Jose wrote and all the other forms. Somehow it makes perfect sense to him. Franco leans in and tries one more time to sell us something we don't want. We refuse once again. He shakes our hands. Finally it is all over.

I feel wealthier after leaving the last manager. We didn't give them a nickel. I ask my wife what Visa would have thought if I charged the five to ten grand they wanted as a down payment. Most likely they would decline.

I feel like we got away, but I'm not so sure. I didn't sign a contract, but they got my home address and date of birth. I hate giving out personal information and those guys got it out of me. Luckily they never got a hold of my Visa card.

On our way to pick up the excursion tickets, we meet another couple who look even worse than we do. Luckily they didn't sign either, but they claim their sales representative started yelling and ranting about being a single father and sole provider for a 5 year old girl. He then proceeded to tell them about how awful they were and how they were wasting his time.

We got off easy with Jose. He was a gentleman for the most part. Maybe we caught him on a bad day. I don't know.

In my opinion... stay the hell away from these timeshare presentations. Do not sign up for anything. Do not give out any personal information.

The web is full of horror stories about broken promises and problems related to timeshare companies. Do a web search if you don't believe me. It's a hassle.

Maybe it's worth it if you will use it every year. I don't know and I don't intend to find out either. One thing is true. I did not enjoy that presentation!

Here's some word from the wise:

1. Time Shares Are a Lousy Investment
2. You Can Get the Same Time Share for Half the Price
3. You Lose 50% or More When You Sell
4. It’s Cheaper to Rent a Time Share
5. Time Shares Come With Multiple Hidden Risks
6. Miss One Year and You’re Better Off Without a Time Share
7. Trading Isn’t Near as Easy as Claimed
8. If You Can’t Pay in Full, It’s a Terrible Deal
9. Travel Is Not Calculated When Comparisons Are Made
10. Hotel Prices Are Increasing (But So Are Time Share Fees)

So what happens if you actually buy a timeshare and want to get out? Check out this site and good luck.

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36 Comments:

Blogger Omar Cruz said...

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1/18/2008 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger Wylo said...

Thanks to Omar for leaving that delightful spam comment above mine. Ah, well.

This is really quite hilarious. I have owned a timeshare before and while buying it didn't go exactly like this I totally understand the illustration. I had a similar experience buying a car, that same runaround, calling the manager, and always scribbling incoherent notes on paper. Good thing you didn't buy in; my wife and I wound up getting way in over our heads and needed a timeshare relief title transfer. That top ten from saving advice should be xeroxed and distributed freely outside every timeshare presentation in the US. Cheers!

1/23/2008 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Lita said...

Expert Information And Advices On TimeShare Investments...
timeshare-investment

2/11/2008 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger rose said...

I AM LOOKING FOR SOMEONE WHO RECENTLY WENT TO THE TIMESHARE PRESENTATION FOR SUNSET HOTEL IN CANCUN. I am looking for someone to veryify that they were also given a paper that showed the amount they pay to rent your weeks back to them for advertising. N0w they claim no paper exists. I AM ALSO WILLING TO PAY SOMEONE TO SEND ME A COPY OF THE PAPER. It shows $500.00 for studio and $1,000.00 for 1 bedroom. i was a sucker and bought the timeshare and now they claim they do not rent the weeks back unless i show them the paper and of course they do not give te paper to keep. you can email me at rosesdta@yahoo.com

thanks rose

10/24/2008 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Kari said...

Hey guys, I work with timeshare owners everyday and am saddened by the amount of scamming that is going on. There are people out there who somehow have a connection to timeshare owners; their addresses and phone numbers and I think ages, too, because many with whom I speak are elderly. It goes like this: we have someone interested in buying your timeshare--send us 2,250.00--the people do in hopes of unloading the maintenance burdens, and then nothing happens except for loss of money. If you want to unload your timeshare you should just advertise yourself; offer it to friends, family, bosses, clergy, anyone who can afford the annual maintenance. When you find a buyer give us a buzz and we'll walk you thru the sale or gift. Sales go thru escrow and collectively run about 1,000.00 to 1,500.00 depending on what resort it is and what type of land it records in (by the way, I am only speaking of Hawaii timeshares) and if the current owners had a marital status change since purchase, like marriage; divorce or death. Straight gifts to family or friends runs around 302.00 to 650.00, again depending on what resort and what kind of property it sits on. Look us up; we're very reputable...
Aloha, Kari
Hawaiidocumentservice.com

5/22/2009 12:02:00 AM  
Blogger Amber Taylor said...

My husband Earl and I took a vacation to Mexico. What appeared to be a relaxing trip, turned in to a nightmare on the second day when we were invited to a ¨Free Breakfast¨ for ninty minutes and cross our path with a real scam artist who convice us to purchase $36.000 two Bedroom unit we don´t need with a scamming investment pitch. we would rent each week for $2.500 and have it paid for in three years. We sign a waiver rescinding our 5 day cancellation right.

Twelve days after, when we got back and realized we couln´t afford this purchase, we tried to cancel, no one from Mayan Palace accepted our Cancelation petition.
although our five days were up and didn´t have the waiver, we contacted a Law Firm who specializes in timeshare fraud and within 15 days we were able to get our Down payment back. the link is www.GonzalezGonzalezLawFirm.com

Ask for Cindy. She was very proffessional and empathetic. Hope they can help you with your issues.

Best Regards!!!
Amber Taylor

6/06/2009 09:56:00 PM  
Blogger joseph muffin said...

What's worst with these timeshare scams is that they victimized usually those owners who wanted to extract some amount even though they cannot recover the full cost before dumping their timeshare property. So, for some timeshare owners wanting to get rid of their units, beware!

8/17/2009 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger kris cullough said...

Timeshare should be stopped! There should be more laws that will protect the timeshare owners. So, if you're getting rid of your timeshare, just make sure that you're dealing with the right and credible company.

8/18/2009 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Ashley said...

www.vogroup.net

TAKE A LOOK

10/15/2009 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger Karilynn said...

That was the funniest timeshare story I've ever read. It is much cheaper to rent in a timeshare building than to own--that's for certain. My sisters and I rented a great 3+3 here at the Fairways Villas on the Big Island---200.00 per night.......now where on earth can you get a 3+3 vacation townhome for that kind of money....people get suckered; men have a macho need to show a girlfriend/new wife that he is well off; it's ridiculous. I work in timeshare transfers for people moving their timeshare into their Trusts, giving away, or just trying to unload it at any expense and let me tell you, we are busy.

10/15/2009 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger batmane said...

They are a real fraud. After years of scamming we need to bust them up! Tell all your friends, family and neighbours. Check out my report :

http://www.ripoffreport.com/resorts/sunset-group-sunset/sunset-group-sunset-lagoon-4f554.htm


Check out steps to get your money back here :

http://138.88.162.193:61500/PDF%20Files/SUNSET%20GROUP%20What%20to%20do-0507.pdf

11/05/2009 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

PLEASE READ!!!

TIMESHARE RESALE COMPANIES ARE ALL SCAMS. IF YOU WANT LEGIT HELP WITH OPTIONS TO DO ANYTHING YOU NEED WITH YOUR TIMESHARE WITHOUT DEALING WITH UPFRONT FEE'S...GO TO THIS WEBSITE WWW.EXCHANGEINTERNATIONAL.COM AND CALL 407.215.5410 ASK FOR STACIE DIMMICK SHE HELPED ME AND MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY WITH EVERYTHING WE NEEDED...HOW BLESSED WE FEEL THAT WE ACTUALLY GOT A PHONE CALL FROM A COMPANY THAT ACTUALLY HELPS AND DOESNT RIP OFF!!! ITS A EXCHANGE COMPANY THAT ALLOWS YOU TO EXCHANGE DIRECTLY WITH OTHER OWNERS WITHOUT THE EXCHANGE FEE AND CAN GO ANYWHERE U WANT WITHOUT WAIT TIME OR HIDDEN INVETORY...YOU CAN ALSO DONATE TO A CHARITY OF YOUR CHOICE FOR A 501C3 TAX RECEIPT AND GET 4-6K PER WEEK...IF YOU WANT TO RENT AND RESALE THEY HAVE A RESORT ONLY AUCTION..WITHIN 3DAYS I HAD 3 BIDS ON MY 2BED LOCK OFF AND GOT 6K FOR A WEEK I COULDNT USE...I NEVER THOUGHT A DAY IN MY LIFE THAT ID BE ABLE TO ENJOY MY TIMESHARE AGAIN UNTILL I BECAME A MEMBER OF EXCHANGE INTERNATIONAL THAT IS AN EXTREME LOW PRICE OF $289 AND ALLOWS YOU TO HAVE OPTIONS!!! I STRONGY SUGGEST YOU DO THIS TOO!!!

11/20/2009 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger Karilynn said...

I dunno about this company......I did cursory check at the DCCA, Bznz registration and something seems not right. Is Exchange International a dba for Your Capital Connection, Inc?

11/22/2009 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger batmane said...

Agree Karilynn, Michael is a scammer too!


WWW.EXCHANGEINTERNATIONAL.COM IS A SCAM!

See this :

http://www.ripoffreport.com/telemarketing-companies/resorts-exchange/resorts-exchange-resort-excha-z7def.htm

And since 1999 this company have been scamming people and it have been burned by FTC many times :

http://www.rainbowinvestigations.com/news/story.php?rainbowID=55

Guys remember, when you most need help, you are the weakest among all! Meaning, if you have been scammed by a timeshare, don't fucked by a papratzi like Exchange International!!!

Take care.

11/22/2009 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger anthony said...

Exchange International, Interval Property Management, and Interval Realty Services are the same company...DO NOT BE TAKEN AGAIN!!!!! Adam and Gabe are at it again. They are not a legitimate exchange company dont be fooled.

5/18/2010 05:35:00 PM  
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10/23/2010 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger mackenzie said...

I think timeshares are a poor investment. I would never get one. Its very rare to hear anything good about them. All I hear about is timeshare relief scams and hidden fees. Be thankful you didn't fall for that.

9/22/2011 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Austin Texas Business said...

Thanks for helping spread the news. Although, its ironic that we call this "news", as Timeshare Scams have been around a long, long time. But the more people post the truth, the less people will get scammed.

Here is a really good site that exposes timeshare scams and what to do about it:

www.timesharescam.org

take care

9/29/2011 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger Anthony Stone said...

I dislike these problems as much as anyone. To avoid these problems you could always look for timeshare relief

11/02/2011 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger TechGromit said...

kris cullough> Timeshare should be stopped! There should be more laws that will protect the timeshare owners.

Timeshare owners don't have any rights. Hell you could buy every unit in the resort, pay in full and be the solo owner without having to share with anyone and you still don't have any rights. The management can charge you what ever maintenance fee they feel like it. There no way to vote them out, appeal, surrender your property. It's the ultimate scam.
Even timeshare that are not total ripoffs are not good deals, the average year maintenance fee is $800 a year, multiply that by 52 deeded weeks in a year, times say 200 units, that's 8 million a year, It does cost no 8 million to run a 200 unit property, lucky if it cost half that with employees, utility and taxes. It's legalize robbery.

You could say the same thing about property taxes, but you can appeal property taxes, in the next election vote for different people running things.

11/23/2011 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

I agree with the majority of comments. All the hidden fees, etc. I wish I could find a way to eliminate all the transfer on the spot scams.

11/28/2011 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger rodolfo benitez said...

ALL TIME SHARE OWNERS BEWARE OF SCAMS - ANY COMPANY ASKING FOR A FEE IN ADVANCE
Company Name: ANY COMPANY ASKING FOR A FEE IN ADVANCE
WE are currently investigating a group of companies who are involved in SUPOSEDLY buying and selling Time Shares in Mexico and many other countries.

We are warning you, that any company that is asking you for tax fees, broker fees, certificate fees, legal fees and ask you to send the funds because they will be returned to you IS A SCAM.
THE FOLLOWING COMPANIES AND NAMES ARE SCAMS

http://www.apfinancialsolutions.com/

http://www.bsmanagements.com/

http://www.totalcrediting.com/index_english.html

http://www.FamilyOfficePartnership.com

http://www.exclusive-propertymanagement.com/

http://www.thegarnergroup.com/buyer-info

http://www.all-starequityinternational.com

http://globalequityvalue.com/

Premier Financial and Closing Services

Pioneer Financial and Closing Services

NAMES INVOLVED

Timothy Ritter,
Lorraine Sanchez,
Caroline Mendoza, and
Roger Miller
Jorge Nunez
Walter Bergman

REGARDS,
RODOLFO BENITEZ
CENTRAL AMERICAN INVESTIGATIONS GROUP
WWW.CENTRALAMERICANINVESTIGATIONS.COM

9/14/2012 12:38:00 AM  
Blogger Kailey Alanna said...

This is a great inspiring article. I am pretty much pleased with your good work.Timeshare resales is a property with a particular form of ownership or use rights. These properties are typically resort condominium units, in which multiple parties hold rights to use the property, and each sharer is allotted a period of time (typically one week, and almost always the same time every year) in which they may use the property.

2/08/2013 11:29:00 PM  
Blogger Charles Berger said...

There is nothing wrong with the whole idea of timeshares, the seem to work well for some people, the problem begins when the sales tactics become practically aggresive and high-pressure, therefore, vacationers should be cautious about anything that sounds too good to be true. This is a good article about how timeshares work:

http://www.timesharescam.com/blog/141-how-do-timeshares-work/

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5/16/2013 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Charles Berger said...

My wife and I were also scammed with a Royal Elite timeshare in Playa del Carmen last August. They promise you everything and deliver NOTHING! We were sucked in by their promise to get us a balcony for an inside cabin rate. We do alot of cruising and thought-Wow this is really a great deal. However, it turned out to be more of a great rip off since everything they told us was a lie. Fortunately we only joined the club and NOT buy the Royal Elite timeshare membership. That was enough though. $2,000 down t he drain. They gave us 4 of those worthless vouchers for Sandos resorts which are also worthless. That HSI exchange is suppose to sell the vouchers for you at at least $500 is also abunch of bull. Please don't fall for anything that has Royal Elite's name on it. I'm in the process of calling the BBB and seeing what they can do. Possibly the attorney General also!!!!!!!! this is a forum with more complaints made on Royal Elite:

http://www.timesharescam.com/timeshare-complaints-resorts-black-list/6-royal-elite-sandos-timeshare-complaints/

6/21/2013 02:39:00 PM  
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+ info: 01 555 536-6997 * LADA sin costo: 01 800 558-8639 * www.hlmexico.com.mx * www.traveltimemx.blogspot.mx

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9/04/2013 06:05:00 PM  
Blogger Sandra Lawson said...

Royal Elite timeshare sales associates are willing to tell you basically anything that you want to hear just to get you to sign, you should be able to ask as many questions as you have, you should be able to sleep on the decision you are about to make, specially is we are talking thousands of dollars, you should be able to review the hotel and the contract, if the contract is not giving to you to read it and review it THEN DO NOT SIGN, it means that everything you have being hearing during the presentation is a total and utter lie

2/03/2014 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Sandra Lawson said...

How long do I have to rescind my timeshare? By law, you have five business days in Mexico to cancel the contract after you have signed it. If you decide to cancel the purchase within this period, notify the developer by email and certified mail. Keep the receipt as evidence you cancelled on time. You should receive a prompt refund of all the money you have paid, without any cancelling penalties, within fifteen business days

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6/04/2014 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Victoria Ford said...

It is now over 3 YEARS since I contracted with Timeshare Relief to transfer my properties and they are still not complete and nobody will call back or provide answers to questions. I call and wait on hold to finally speak with a customer rep who tells me that my transfer is in the "final stage" -- yet when I call Wyndham, they state that they haven't received any documents at all. When I question the customer rep, they transfer me to a voice mailbox with no name, no number and nobody ever returns my phone calls.

6/09/2014 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger Steven Flora said...

Bring back the Viking Ships with a vengeance! Destroy these crooks forever.

11/28/2014 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger Patricia Gilbert said...

Thousands of International travelers, particularly from the US and Canada, have fallen victims of timeshare scams while vacationing. Resort developers hire skilled salesmen to represent their timeshares as many different attractive packages, such as financial investments, deeded properties, or vacation clubs, just to increase their sales.

1/15/2015 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Mark Miles said...

I went to a timeshare presentation before, and thanks God i was smart enough to not fall into their lies. I realize quickly that all they want is our money, and they are going to say everything to make you sign the contract.
My advice is that everyone has to be very well informed about their hard selling tactics to avoid being scammed. I recommend you to read this article that might be helpful for everyone who is thinking on buying a timeshare, here you'll find some tips:


http://www.timesharescam.com/blog/68-timeshare-scams-mexico-vs-us-why-are-there-more-situations-of-fraud-in-mexico/

9/29/2015 05:51:00 PM  

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