Surviving a Timeshare Presentation


Emma owns timeshares in DVC and Wyndham and wants to help you get the most out of your timeshares and keep you from losing big on them too.


Timeshares are most frequently sold during timeshare sales presentations at the resort. At most resorts, the average timeshare salesperson will make you feel like you could eat a car salesperson for breakfast if you manage to survive the visit with your wallet still intact.

On my recent trip to Florida, I attended two timeshare presentations in order to get myself some free tickets to SeaWorld and Universal Studios. Both were advertised as a 90 minute and 120 minute presentation respectively, but I did not manage to get myself out the door in under three hours. Now partly, that is because I like to argue, but mostly it is because the entire process is designed to wear you down.

By the time you leave the presentation, you will have spoken to three different people:

  • The Sales Person - he or she will be with you most of the presentation, acting like your best friend
  • The Manager - once you've said no enough times, the salesperson will hand you off to the manager who will make another pitch with a better price. Often it will be significantly better. The last presentation I went on the price came down more than $20K after it was explained to the manager that I owned two timeshares already and had bought one of them at resale. But I could still do better on Ebay, I think, and didn't care for the resort much, so I turned it down.
  • The Closer - if you still say no, even after the manager comes out to make you an offer, you may meet another person at some of the larger resorts. The closer will usually offer you a discounted vacation at that resort. If it's a very good price (negotiate, it can be better) and you like the resort, and don't mind having to go on yet another presentation, then take it. Otherwise turn it down. If you do take it, do not accept the first price asked. Make a counter-offer.
Are timeshare presentations a scam?

Are timeshare presentations a scam?

Timeshares and the Law

I don't generally think that timeshare presentation are a scam, but they can be tricky to navigate. While fraud used to be pretty common in the industry, particularly in Florida, it has cleaned up its act considerably over the years, thanks to strong consumer protection laws and the entrance of larger corporate players (Marriott, Hilton, Disney) into the marketplace.

However, timeshare sales people are still prone to making misleading statements. The biggest misleading statement, and the one that particularly bugs me, usually has to do with the resale value of the timeshare. They almost always claim that if you decide in the future to sell your timeshare, you'll get your money back. Some even suggest that you will make a profit.

But the real truth is that you will never make your money back and you certainly won't make a profit. While 50% may be an average loss of price, timeshares can lose as much as 90% of their "value" after the closing.

The problem is that the developer always charges far more than the real value of the timeshare because he needs to make up for the cost of all those timeshare presentations, the marketing they do to get people into the presentation, and the gifts they give away. There are finder's fees (paid to those who solicit you at various tourist bureaus, etc.), commissions, and general staffing that are also part of the equation.

And on the other side of the deal, there's no protection of the value. Very few timeshare companies make first right of refusal on resales a part of their contract and the few companies that do often don't exercise it. Disney Vacation Club, Marriott, and Hilton are a few of the companies that exercise ROFR (right of first refusal)regularly and aggressively, but you should still be able to buy one at about a 20% discount off developer's prices. Much lower than that though, and they will usually just buy it out from under you and turn it around and sell it at full price.

If you do decide to go to a timeshare presentation because you want to collect some gifts, then here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Leave your checkbook at home - I would tell you to leave all your credit cards at home too, but usually you are required to bring a major credit card to the presentation with you and show it before being allowed to enter the presentation. If you really don't trust yourself, then bring a card on which you are carrying a balance very close to your limit :)
  • Be wary of the prizes and gifts. This tip comes into play before you agree to go to the presentation. It is usually not even worth the hassle of attending unless the gift is FREE. This means you should not be paying shipping & handling for anything, because I can guarantee that the value of your gift will be no more than the actual s&h on it.
  • Negotiate the gifts before you go. You will be spending between 2-4 hours at a high pressure sales event so make sure you are getting something that has actual value in return. And if you hold out, they usually will make a better offer just to get you in the door. Don't even bother if they are offering things like cameras or luggage. You want cash, free (or heavily discounted) vacations and/or tickets to theme parks. Most of the time you will need to pay a $20 deposit to reserve your presentation, but that's designed to deal with "no shows" and you'll get it back after it is over.
  • Don't engage. The more you talk, the longer your presentation is going to be. Just sit and listen. It is normally best not to ask any questions.
  • Don't fall for the leading questions, such as "wouldn't you rather vacation at a condo than a hotel?" Actually, you love hotels because you love room service, turndown service and daily housekeeping. Timeshares offer none of those.
  • Don't even bother to bring up resales unless you are willing to bring proof with you. Here's a hot tip though -- if you do print out completed auctions of their resorts and show them off early in the presentation, you will frequently find yourself on the way out the door with gifts in hand in under a half hour, especially if their $35,000 resort only sells for $3,500 on Ebay. Heh.

Rescind the Timeshare Purchase

Rescind the Timeshare Purchase

How to Rescind the Timeshare Purchase

Okay, so you went to the timeshare presentation, fell in love with the resort, the timeshare salesperson acted like your best friend, showed you all the different vacations you could enjoy all over the world and made you an offer that you couldn't refuse.

But now you are home and feeling a bit sick with buyer's remorse, especially since you decided to take a look at eBay. Well, it is not too late. Thankfully, there are strong consumer protection laws in every state that guarantee a "cooling off" period for timeshare purchases. Depending on your state you will have 3-15 days to rescind (get out off) your contract and get your deposit money back. It is very important to read your contract paperwork carefully as the information on how to rescind will be contained within it.

Since the process is somewhat involved and needs to be followed step by step, it's important not to panic or just give up. Just get to work on following the steps required. I've put a hub together on How to Rescind a Timeshare Contract as well that will give you an idea of what you need to do, but the contract itself needs to be followed. Just make sure that you act now because once the cooling off period is over, you're stuck with it and might as well just start enjoying your vacations.

3 Steps to Cancel Your Timeshare Contract

Before you leave a comment

I've allowed a significant amount of leeway in the comments section for people on both sides of this issue to speak their mind, but lately comments have become excessively vitriolic and repetitive so further comments have been disallowed.


Tess from Hawaii on January 25, 2019:

Great post. It's still relevant.

Emma (author) from Boston on January 28, 2011:

McKenna, most timeshares only allow married couples and singles. Generally you are not eligible for gifts if your spouse is not with you. That said, if none of your ID says MRS on it, they won't know you are married unless you tell them.

You can sign up for timeshare tours at places other than hotels -- try any discount ticket booth you see. They are almost always offering discount tickets or cash in exchange for a tour. I've even been approached at 7-Eleven.

McKenna on January 28, 2011:

I'm going to be near Orlando for a couple of days and am wondering if the time share presentations allow only one half of a married couple to attend? My husband may not be with me for the trip and even if he is he'd probably like to avoid the ordeal. Does anyone know?

Also, do we need to be staying at a hotel to sign up for a timeshare tour there? That's how we signed up for our last one.

Emma (author) from Boston on January 03, 2011:

KSTraveler, no they don't ask for any financial information up front. You just answer questions relating to your qualifications. It's strictly honor system.

They want to make sure you have a major credit card because it is a quick way of showing that you may be creditworthy and not a waste of their time.

Use your credit card to pay. Even if there was an overcharge, a five minute phone call to your credit card company will take care of it. That's one of the main advantages of paying for anything by credit card.

KsTraveler on January 01, 2011:

I am planning on attending a TS presentation next week in Orlando. I will absolutely not be purchasing on this visit, but I am 1). interested to learn about timeshares, and to see what they have to offer for refernece of a possible purchase in the future, and 2). interested in the discount tickets to Universal Studios. Here are my questions....do they ask for financial information upfront (social security number, credit card information, etc.)? I do not feel comfortable giving them this information (I do meet their qualifications for household income, major credit card, etc.) The tickets are discounted to $49/person. I will more than likely be paying with my credit card. Have you heard of any instances where the credit card has been overcharged, or number fraudulantely used? I just think it is weird that one of their qualifications is that you have a major credit card. Thanks for your help!

LA Perry on November 06, 2010:

I would like to say that you are getting ripped off big time if you purchase a timeshare after your tour. My husband and I made the mistake of buying one that uses points and paid $15,000 for it. We later learned that anyone can buy them off of Ebay for real cheap. We paid $1 for the same amount of points for the same resort on this site. The closing costs were only a little over $500. We could just kick ourselves for not checking into this before we made the "big" purchase. The second one is paid for and we will be paying for our first purchase for a few years. It's something to think about before making a commitment.

Jo Ann on November 05, 2010:

Hi to all, I had won a free vacation in a 5 star hotel in F.l. By answering questions in the radio, it turned out that i had to pay $140.00 for the weeks stay for some other charges when we got to the hotel, they told us we could not stay or get the free tickets that were included if we did not assist a 90 minute orientation time share, we were not informed of this until we arrived at the hotel with the reservation papers + they had divided our stay in two 3 days in Orlando and four in Daytona once we went to the 90 minutes, when we arrived in Daytona they said the same thing after they said we only had to go true this once, it was a lie+ the Hotels were more of cheap motels than hotels in wich we also had to pay parking that had no tipe of security, the lady from the second orientation started very nice , she insisted and we told her we werent even aware that we had to go to these time share orientations, my husband is very sweet and said no nicely but when she kept on pushing I said no 90 minutes were up 10 minutes ago, Uff she got PO and walked out on us and didnt even leave us dirrections on how to get back to the motel ja ja ja they really took us LoL...we picked up our stuff and left to Orlando to a real hotel, Don't answer or Bealieve any radio contests nothing is free in life! LOL have to laugh I felt like at any time some one was going to shout you got punked! Or mira que te veo! Everything has a price and like you say you have got to balance things out, this hub is awsom have a great one to all!

tb67travelman on October 18, 2010:

I find the best way to get out of these quickly, is to be polite but assertive. Make it clear that you will in no way shape or form be purchasing anything. They usually move you on quick then.

Leah on October 10, 2010:

My husband and I bought a points timeshare off of Ebay for $1 plus closing cost of about $530. If I bought these points through the resort's timeshare, it would have cost us $18,000. So what if I can't use these to get a VIP status. I can still book a room and stay where I want.

Julie on October 02, 2010:

I have recently attended a presentation, and right at the beginning they asked me to fill out a sheet for a credit check that had asked for my social security number, they told me that they destroy it afterwards if no purchase is made. I did not purchase and told them that I do not make large purchases on the spot.

Emma (author) from Boston on September 29, 2010:

Nikki, I have no idea, but it must be a high enough number to justify the expense.

Nikki on September 20, 2010:

Does anyone know what percentage of people that attend these timeshare presentations actually say "yes" and buy a timeshare?

Emma (author) from Boston on August 24, 2010:

I've attended the Mystic Dunes presentation and the salesperson was completely fine. No hard sell at all. I really think, in a lot of cases, it just depends on the individual salesperson.

enli on August 23, 2010:

we recently went to orlando for our vacation. we happen to go to a presentation at MYSTIC DUNES. oh my keep away people.They are hungry sale sharks! the lady that was doing our sales pitch/manager was soo pushly and putting so much pressure for us to buy there timeshare. When we flatly refused, they turned to be ugly and rude. Unbelievable !!!! DO the sales reps think that money grows on trees ?

TJ on June 24, 2010:

20 years in the business, and I love , love ,love that guests will still come and listen for a free gift or a subsidized vacation. That means that everyday my sales team has someone to talk too.

We know that not everyone is going to buy, in fact I believe its the only place where we can actually fail 80% of the time and still make great money.

To anyone that has ever given up their valuble vacation time for a free gift and a sales presentation thank you.

I believe in my product and although resale kills us if you can get a good deal go for it....but check it out first. On the other hand if you are looking to sell your ownership beware of companies that ask for upfront money especially if its more than $100 you will never see your money again.

If you want to resell, get on a timeshare owners message board, no fees, and you will find a buyer.

To all free gift hunters I love you and you deserve your gifts I know how well I train my sales people.

Jamie on June 02, 2010:

Is it legal if a timeshare presenter states the complete process will take 2 hours, but tries to keep you there much longer; meaning, can you just get up and leave at the 2 hour mark and still have your subsidized vacation?

Jim on May 29, 2010:

"Royal Elite" Watch out for their devious sales pitch. All they do is lie and try and rip you off. Buyre beware here!

Benzade on May 21, 2010:

My Girlfriend and I attended one of these timeshare presentations after admitidly approaching a stand in one of the theme parks in Orlando, Florida. I can confirm everything Embitica has said regarding the whole process from leaving a $20 deposit to secure your place up to leaving with your free gift is correct.

We was picked up in a strech limo from our hotel and taken out towards Kissamee and straight away they have you as tourists you don't know the area so are less likely to stand up to leave if you are feeling pressurised as you are relying on them to take you back to your hotel in our case located on International Drive.

On confirming that we had arrived we was then paired off with a sales rep and shown through to a dining style hall and told to help ourselves to a low grade buffet style breakfast. Our sales rep joined us and engaged in light conversation to try to identify with us. "Oh you're a brain surgeon? My Brother does that!" type of thing. All designed to make you feel like she is your best friend.

After breakfast it was down to business "Where do we normally vacate? What's our combined income? etc" once the peliminary paperwork was done we was treated to a tour of the complex and show apartments, all the while subtlely pointing out the great benefits of the company and asking double edged questions like "If you was to buy a condo would you rather be squashed in two bedroom appartment or have the extra space of an all singing all dancing luxury three bedroomed apartment?" So naturally we said the spacious three bedroomed apartment, theorectically of course at least in our minds anyway as we don't want to buy one anyway. But beware of these questions as they will come back to kick you in the ass later when you return to your table in the main hall to discuss actually purchasing a timeshare with them!

Obviously they have heard all the excuses for not purchasing before and have adapted their sales pitch as time as progressed so that by answering these seeingly innocent questions during the tour you are actually answering your own reasons for not buying later on.

Obviously if you state it is not what you are looking for or it hasn't convinvced you that it is worth buying into your sales rep will begin to clutch at straws to get you to sign and may pull a stunt like producing a calculator and then getting you to operate it whilst you're being instructed by them like a child in Elementry School to punch in how much a night you have spent at your hotel and then multiply that by the duration of you current vacation. Once you have a figure you are then encouraged to multiply it by however many years the timeshare lease lasts for to get a total sum that you will have eventually paid to the hotel chains assuming you vacated every year of course. Then they hit you with "So dosen't it make good finacial sense to own something that is yours (well for ex amount of weeks a year at least)?" Frankly I found this tactic insulting by implying that I have the business acumen of a 3 year old by paying to stay at an hotel.

By this point you are 2 and a half hours in to the presentation and are frazzled all you want to do is get out of there and couldn't really care less by this moment if you get the gifts or not as long as this sales rep will just stop trying to sell you a timeshare that you didn't want. A dirty trick worthy of note here was our rep claimed she still had to fill in the forms as part of procedure even though we didn't want the timeshare. We said "Sure go ahead." until she got to the payment part and asked us "So how would you like to pay cash, cheque or credit card?" to which my girlfriend replied "Neither, we don't want it!"

There then followed an akward silence with us sat once side of the table and our sales rep the other just looking at one another no longer was she our new best friend. But hey ho it's not like was was going to start sending her christmas cards, so we thought we had depeated her by not signing and our bank balance remains intact.

That is when they brought out the artillery by bringing over the manager who before signing us out to collect our gift shook our hand, looks at what the sales rep has offered us and adjusts the price to try to get us to change our mind and did so again after we refused to try to get us to put pen to paper.

Once they finally accepted we wasn't going to sign they wrote out a slip for our gifts and gave us directions on where to claim them. With false smiles all round they wished us a good day. After collecting our gifts we were told to wait in an area that was in the direct sunlight with no shade to await our now standard taxi that took another 30 minutes to arrive to take us back to our hotel.

Total amount of time spent on this presentation about 5 hours.

ICISMTN on April 13, 2010:

I am a in sales and dont see why people are so turned off by timeshare ownership....If you own the deed to a 1 week or 2 week package for the rest of time why would you not spend the money you would spend giving it away to hotels. In the long run it is a much smarter investment than just simply throwing away money. And yes some are very expensive but you get what you pay for just like anything else only you can own this...One of my pitches i do is if the next time you fly and you walk up to the counter and the lady says you have been upgraded from coach to 1st class would you??? Bc thats what most of these people are doing... moving up from a crappy holiday inn that smushes everything into one 12x12 room or have a cabin with full ammenities...

Trent on April 10, 2010:

I agree with Embitka, with one minor adjustment. Time shares, like automobiles, do not drop in value after you buy them "new." The value is the value, the salesman just tricked you into paying more than the actual value.

The factor that always stopped me from buying is the "maintenance" fees. They almost always are uncapped and often by themselves are more than a priceline cost of a 3 OR 4 star hotel. And with the hotel, you get to choose where to go and when - bug advantages. You can go 4 weeks one year and 0 weeks the next year as your schedule requires.

WyattsMom on April 08, 2010:

Thank you- I used your tips- before we went I found an ebay auction selling a timeshare at the same resort for $6000 about $20K less than their asking price-we offered them $5000 and they gave us our 4 tickets to Universal Studios and we were on our way for a day of fun in less than 2 hours :)

Nuevo Vallarta on April 03, 2010:

My husband and I have been to several presentations over the years. The best was when we were in Las Vegas in 2006 when we go married. after surviving the TS presentation, we were given tickets to 3 or 4 different shows and were also given a 3-d holographic pic of us encassed in a solid square glass/plasticy encassing that rotates on a colorful light spectrum (that has our wedding date on it) which was worth a few hundred dollars.

If you can sit through the presentation and not buy anything, you are doin good!

we went on our honeymoon in dec 2006 and went to Puerta Vallarta. We got roped into the presentation at the airport when we arrived.

Well after being taken to the new Villa Del Palmar resort in Nueva Vallarta (20 mins outside of P.V.), we were given several cocktails while we waited. Being our first day of our honeymoon/vacation, we indulged. Well by the time the sales pitch was done, another cocktail (or 2) later, we were convinced! BAD IDEA!!

so we ended up with this timeshare, that if we hadn't ended up paying off a few mos later by selling some other property, we would have had to make this 2-300$ monthly payments with something like 28% interest. it was really high!

a few weeks later, after getting home, we found out that somehow on the honeymoon, i had gotten pregnant!

so, after having a baby, the Timeshare didn't seem like such a good idea. We have never used it. We pay our annual maintenance fees for 500$ US and keep carrying our weeks over to the next years but what do you do with it then?

we are committed to using our 2008 week this year (you have to use it within 2 yrs of putting it over to the next yrs) so this year we have decided to combine 3 years of carrying our yrs over and we are going to take a week in March 2011 and take our family (my brothers, sisters, spouses and their children) to Disneyworld. We can get 3 TS suites for the week. after that we are putting it up for SALE!! I don't think it would be useful until our daughter is much older and by then, saving for ONE - 1 week vacation a YEAR would probably cost us the SAME as paying for their ridiculous maintenence fees for one week a year in a timeshare.

Emma (author) from Boston on April 01, 2010:

I never said timeshares as a concept was bad. I think timeshares are awesome -- when priced appropriately. And currently I own three :)

unknown on March 30, 2010:

Loved your site but just one thing have you ever thought about the people who are trying to make a living who sell timeshare. they are not all bad and if timeshare was that aweful why do you have two. Jusk asking

nancy on March 28, 2010:


i bought a TS near Legoland on the resale market. it was useful when the kids were young; nice facilities for day use year round, and "staycations".

now we want to sell it. any advice? lately i get alot of solicitations for selling TS but suspect they are scams.


Lisa on March 26, 2010:

any one know of any timeshare promotions in the state of rhode island?


Emma (author) from Boston on March 08, 2010:

Will, I've never heard of GroupWise, but like anything else in the timeshare industry, I always figure it is wise to be wary.

Are you a member of Escapees, Will? Maybe you could sell your park membership to someone else on the Escapees forum. I know there are some other RV forums as well. I'm sure the membership would be useful to some full-timer. Might be worth hunting around.

Will Middleton on March 08, 2010:

I am trying to sell a membership in an RV organization with multiple parks (18 of them) It only cost $4000 and we have used it for 13 years, paying $260 per year for dues. We can stay about 36 wks a year paying only a small rental fee, or only $3 a nite for electric charges. We have been contacted by TimeShare companies who say they can sell it, but they know nothing about the membership programs. One salesman said he had a buyer who would pay $9,000 for it, but he needed $750 dollars to register the sale in Florida. Many others have offered questionable deals. We do not want a timeshare in anything, we have just retired off the road and are not going to travel anymore. Lately we have been contacted by GroupWise Inc., a timeshare organization. They just want to "explain to me what my membership means", they don't want to sell us anything, but again it sounds suspicious. Know anything about GroupWise.

Thomas Harper on January 07, 2010:

You know ...here's the deal. T.S. isn't for everybody. that's a fact.What you have to be aware of is ...you are spending the money anyway if you are going on vacation. As for the people out there that don't want to buy T.S. that's OK ...you are the ones that are keeping the hotel chains in business. Just think if everybody believed in T.S.....Wow the hotel chains would be in trouble.The bottom line is it's renting vs ownership. I own rental property and I love my renters...they pay my mortgage payments every month.

Another fact...The T.S. business is a multi billion dollar a year business. And for the hand full of moochers out there that have to get together and try to figure out how to subsidize there vacations because they don't have the money to take there kids on a Disney resort with out spending time at a T.S. presentation ....that's O.K...God Bless. If you can sleep at night with your own dishonesty good for you . Just because you tell the salesman up front you are there for the gift you think you are justifying your actions.At least show some respect to your salesperson. I don't have any idea what all of you do for a living that wrote in being so proud of yourselves for what you do to get free STUFF...but maybe you should put the shoe on the other foot.How would you feel if people came in to where you work and pulled the same thing on you ?

Of course you are right there are some despicable people in the T.S. business as is there in a lot of other business out there. But there are a lot of very honest people in the T.S. business as well.Maybe what a lot of you should do is step back and take a look in the mirror and ask yourself ....are you any better then these so called dishonest T.S. people you are ragging on. I think not.

If you despise the people and the T.S. business so much...stay away from them...put a few coins in your piggy bank every month , that way you wont have to stoop to there level just for you can go on vacation and do activity you normally can't afford to do.

P.S. I will be surprised if if this gets posted.If it does...good for you to be able to take as you dish out.

hubpages1958 on December 21, 2009:

I went to Cancun last month on Carnival Vacation Club $299 for one week. While walking through the Cancun airport I was approached by a local gentleman asking me if I was interested in tours. Being this was the first time I was there I picked a trip to Chichen Itza and a snorkel tour to Isla Majures for a payment of $50 and visit a tour 'with an open mind'. They were to pick me up at my hotel the next morning. I then met my ride to the motel and once there, they had their own timeshare so I set it up for the second day there.

First timeshare: Picked up on the street in front of the motel and taken to the north end of Cancun. There was a new hotel being built. I met the salesman, we had a good buffet breakfast in the only building completed (I left a tip for the waiter). He showed me the view of the ocean (next to the ferry to Isla and Cozumel), walked past the first part of the building under construction, by some video's of people that had those TS vacations and settled in a room to discuss the cost. They had a $60k, $40k and $20k plan, which I told him I wasn't interested in paying for vacations in advance. He said 'you're here for the free stuff', I told him I'd paid $50 and my time so it really wasn't free. His manager came by and offered me booze, which I wasn't wanting at 10 am. He got loud and asked me if I didn't 'like mexicans' and 'can't you help a mexican out'? I just told him I didn't want to pay for vacations in advance. He questioned my sexuality which pissed me off. I finally got up and started walking, so they took me to the coupon room. I waited another 10 minutes but got the 2 trips paid for and a bottle of Kahula. The trips were good that I was going to go on anyway and I got them at a discount.

Timeshare at the hotel: Went to a 'sister' resort. Had a good breakfast again with a knockout mexican girl. Viewed a couple of rooms that were very nice, looked at the yachts that could be rented at a discount, went back to the hotel and viewed 2 more very nice looking rooms that were associating with the TS (the only 2 rooms that nice in the whole hotel). She explained that the plans were for x weeks with free weeks and if I didn't use them they would buy them back from me FOR MORE THAN I PAID. I questioned how, if they could sell them why would they pay me for them? He seemed flustered. The TS offer was for $159k, $99, and $59k, with 35% down, closing costs and payments at 'only' 16% (but I could secure financing at my own bank and pay it off in 45 days). I pointed out that the $800/$1100/$2200 payments PER MONTH I could take a vacation a month for 5 years, not including the down payment that would pay off my house, pay off my house and put on an addition or pay off my house and buy another. The sales manager came by and acted like he was going to fire her. I was taken to the checkout area and was offered something at $2k, but I told him I wasn't interested. For my time there, I got breakfast for the remaining stay and a 'jungle ride' tour.

I've seen people that aren't happy at all with RCI not getting what they were promised and even with a class action lawsuit hasn't deterred them from selling timeshares.

Now, in my personal opinion, buying a timeshare is like buying 'air'. You don't actually own anything physical. There is a large downpayment and anything they 'finance' (talk about printing your own money) is just on paper and you are paying interest on the paper they are floating you. Then when you try to reserve a week, odds are they won't have it. It seemed there were charges with making a reservation and more for areas away from Cancun. Add to that maintenance fees that would pay for ANOTHER weeks vacation somewhere and every so often they will announce that YOUR timeshare (not that you actually own anything) needs updated and they are billing you $thousands$, figuring that you only go there one week out of the year and won't notice they haven't updated anything since the hotel was first built.

I'm sure that if I had bought a TS I would have been given the same room I paid $299 for, with the TV that had weird colors and the loud AC.

I will continue to use timeshares for free stuff and I would never, ever buy one. If someone offered me a free one I would have to respectfully decline. I don't see them as any deal or something that is of any value. I prefer to coordinate inexpensive flights with inexpensive week stays, rather than be locked into something that might or might not be used.

As for the people selling timeshares, you know it's a raw deal.

william simons on December 12, 2009:

The presentation I went to was more about selling me financing at an outrageous 30% than it was about selling me a timeshare. I would owe more at the end of 20 years than the day I signed. If I could pay cash it was a great deal....

Mike on December 04, 2009:

I have been on both ends of a timeshare presentation. I have purchased a timeshare, and I am currently selling timeshare. To say that all timeshare companies are scams is ignorant. If you have not toured every timeshare company in the industry, than this is an unfair statement. Does a bad experience at several Catholic, Baptist (you choose) churches mean that every church in the world is the same? Of course not. When people state that timeshares are scams, they rarely finish explaining. How is it a scam? How were you personally effected? Were you scammed, or was it a friend of a friend of a friend?

Here is the biggie...To all those people who tour presentations for living and offer the "How to survive a timeshare presentation" advice, sometimes for a fee (now who is scamming?), you tell these people to lie at the presentation, but the people giving the presentation are expected to tell the truth. Many people act as if they have come into the den of the devil, and they will say and do the most degrading things to the sales associate. No offense, but Pastors and Missionaries are the worst. If you don't believe me, ask ANYONE who has sold timeshare. God knows who you are when you are on vacation people, and that includes a timeshare presentation.

If you attend a presentation, we know you are there for the gifts, we know that you said you weren't going to buy anything, and we know that about 80 percent of the stuff that comes out of your mouth will be a lie. We do this all day, every day, you cannot pull one over on us; we know.

Not every company is rude to the people who don't buy. I work for a great company (No, I won't say the name). If you have completed your 90 minute obligation, you can leave, and we will treat you as nice when you leave and we did when you arrived. People that say they were trapped at a presentation for 4 hours make me laugh. Honestly...trapped!!! Did you ask to leave? Did you keep asking questions that made the presentation last longer? Come on guys... If you want timeshare people to be honest, you need to do the same.

Many people buy a timeshare, and the cant afford it. Many of these people are the ones who say they were scammed. If timeshare was such a scam, would it have been around for 40 years?

Question for everyone who has ever attended a timeshare presentation and claims that timeshare people are the ones lying, you were given gifts. Did you report it on your taxes?

Please be careful how you treat your sales rep when you attend a presentation. We are people too, and we are trying to make a living just like you are. You never know, we may walk into your business/church and treat you with the same respect or disrespect that you showed us.

Betty Reid from Texas on November 18, 2009:

My boyfriend and I survivied a timeshare presentation in Cancun this summer. It took three hours of our time, but we did get free meals and drinks for the entire day plus a free trip to Chichen Itza the next day.

Brandon Lee (WVR in Las Vegas) on November 04, 2009:

I have chosen timeshare sales as my profession here in Las Vegas because I was raised in Ohio with the use of it. My grandparents purchased 32 years ago and left it to my parents. The ownership has provided my averaged income parents, my sister and I at least 50 vacations combined over the years in quality accomodations and in desired locations. Our ownership has forced us to vacation two times a year which the majority of Americans need. I am grateful to say I am a top performer because I know in the long run it is an itelligent investment, not so much financially but an investment. On spending time with your family away from the everyday grind. We all work harder than ever.. Purchasing a timeshare ensures you and your loved ones thier well deserved playtime. I kindly suggest spending more time researching how us Americans vacation the least and how our government is ok with it even though they vacation several weeks a year. In fact we are the only industrialized nation that has zero guaranteed vacations. Vacation ownership is the only way to guarantee we go somewhere else than other than work. I will end this with 2 quotes. The first one is one I saw in a bar in La Jolla while on vacation. "On an ancient wall in China where a brooding Buddah blinks. Deeply graven is the message It is later than you think. The clock is wound but once and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour. Now is all the time you own, the past a golden link, go traveling now my brother... It is later than you think." -unknown wise author. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Dream. Explore. Discover." - Mark Twain.

wolvie1881 from Canada on October 22, 2009:

I've bought 3 different timeshares and am very happy with them. I agree that the presentations are very hard core sales, but owning and using a timeshare is great for my wife and I...if I was to buy any more I'd definitely go resale.

starla on August 05, 2009:

Wow... I don't think that people are rude for showing up and taking a "free" gift that they are offered... Maybe people selling timeshares should think of better ways to sell their condos... like fair prices...

vivisoco on August 01, 2009:

I bought a timeshare about 2 yrs ago with Monarch Grand vacations. They have about 8 resorts in CA, vegas & lake tahoe. I've only visited 2 & I am ready to visit the brand new Cabo Azul in Cabos, MX. I've read reviews about the resort and it seems to be incredible. Going back to the timeshare...we took out a timeshare of 133 pts, which is about 1 week every 2 yrs for $10,000 at a 18% apr. We are more than half done paying it and we don't regret it knowing that its ours for the rest of our lives and generations to come. I would recommend you first check the resort locations before attending a timeshare presentation, just in case you decide to buy. Also, we recently visited the OC fair and we saw an advertisement that said " 2 nights in San Diego for $99, which we found appealing and once we approached the booth, we were offered free tickets to the Del Mar horse race, free child admission to Lego land & a possible $100 dining gift card for attending a timeshare presentation. We found this to be a good call and we will be visiting shortly. I have found all the above info very helpful & find myself ready to negotiate if I decide to buy. Last but not least, if you have decided not buy anything and just enjoy the gifts than you must go with a strong backbone or else you'll come out with a timeshare in hand. Best wishes!!!

Misty on July 22, 2009:

What is all this about freeloading?

The companies call you, email you, send you letters, bug you to death about their FREE gifts and promotional offers and ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS LISTEN. Then you agree. You show up. You listen. How is that freeloading? They asked for your time in exchange for cash or gifts or what have you. You give it to them, you are entitled to their offer. They don't tell you that they will give you what they are offering if you come, listen, and buy or even that you have to come with the intent to buy. I don't see anything morally wrong here. You aren't promising your interest or money or to buy anything, just your time.

Chantelle on July 22, 2009:

Thanks, Embitca. Regardless of the different opinions here, I have gotten a lot of information after being solicited for the first time for a timeshare presentation.

As far as the actual argument goes, I'm sure the experience can go both ways. However, I am disagreeing with the fact that many of the salespeople are saying that going into the presentation knowing you are not going to buy is immoral. I could only agree with that had the person voluntarily set the whole thing up themselves, because that would, indeed, be like kind of "using" the salespeople.

However, I think some of the commenters here are forgetting that some people (like me) have their names pulled from a bucket and are solicited for these kinds of things. Which, even at the level of a phone conversation, can begin to be very pushy.

In a case like that, I think it is perfectly acceptable to say ok, you're offering me a gift in exchange for peace and quiet from your persuasion afterward, I'm going to take full advantage of it. As a few others have pointed out, someone obviously wants us there. If we let them know we are not paying for anything (and, mind you, I was not told it was a timeshare or how it even works, and being in my early 20s I had no real idea until this article) and they still invite us to come, they can't blame me when I get there, realize I am being sold something I cannot afford, and want to just get my gifts and leave.

Again, I think it's simply a good idea to be educated the best you can depending on your interests in timeshares. Just as the sales people say, it is not for everyone. Some people buy, and some people don't. If you can't take losses in a sales position, you really do need a different outlook because no matter what industry you sell in, there will always be rejection, and there will always be the people who are able enough to get halfway in but still keep you short of your quota.

Thanks Again for all of the information.

DREA on July 22, 2009:

I would just like to say that yes I think that accepting a presentation on the knowledge that you want to waste time and get free gifts is horrible but talking as a rep of a resort. In the 5 short years Ive worked in the industry I have 392 members happy that I correspond with occasionally see them back every few years/months and really if you didnt want the gift I would have never had the opportunity. But thats okay. I know there are some scams out there but by and by IT IS A GOOD DEAL!!!! Listen next time you might be impressed.

Kate Swanson from Sydney on June 30, 2009:

I'd just like to add that the "entry of big players" like Hilton doesn't seem to have cleaned up the time share industry at all. Another poster said they had been subjected to high pressure, dishonest salesmanship by Hilton.

I've had the same experience with Accor, which is a huge French-based international hotel chain. We were certainly misled at their presentation. What's worse, you only have 5 days to change your mind - and your cancellation has to arrive at their office before close of business on the fifth day (and it has to be original, not faxed or emailed). Given that their office isn't in a capital city, and allowing for transit time in the mail, that means you really only have a day before you have to fire off that cancellation letter.

Emma (author) from Boston on June 30, 2009:

Mike, it is ultimately the consumer, the public, who always decides whether any product is worth its price. Many of us have decided that timeshares are NOT worth the price that developers ask for them. The market itself has proven that to be the case since most timeshares resell at enormous discounts on developer prices, sometimes as much as 90%.

No one is forcing a salesperson to do anything and if someone wants to waste their time pressing me with the hard sell, that's their choice. I've spoken with plenty of other timeshare reps who get it and who don't feel the need to lie. They'll spend 90 minutes with me pumping me for info about other timeshares I've been to and how those programs work and then they move on to their next guest.

Timeshare companies are perfectly aware that most people are there solely for the free gift. They've chosen the free gifts model with all its flaws because they are counting on all of the people in the world who can be talked into a sale, and who do make large impulse buys. I don't feel the slightest bit of guilt taking them up on their offer and neither should anyone else. Ethics has nothing to do with it. It is a numbers game. They are gambling that the numbers will work in their favor and obviously they do, otherwise they wouldn't be so successful.

Everything I write is based upon my actual experiences. I'm not trashing anyway by sharing my experience. Consumers have every right to question standard operating procedure, especially in an industry so rife with heavy-handed sales tactics that every state has had to institute laws to allow for a recission period for all timeshare sales.

Many sales reps in the timeshare industry lie for a living. They are aware they are full of crap. They don't care. Not everyone who works for a living spends their entire day lying to people and I have no respect whatsoever for those that do.

Mike on June 30, 2009:

Big Mike,

Everything you advised and said is ok, except one thing. You never go into a presentation with an open mind. You are always predisposed that you are, under no circumstances, going to buy from a developer.

This does not sound like an open mind to me. You are openly bragging that you set up these presentations to freeload as many gifts as you can - open mind? What is your definition of open mind?

You are a big part of the problem. Because the industry has to cover costs for you freeloaders, the prices of the product has to cover these marketing costs. I don't know what you do for a living, but imagine all of your marketing efforts resulting in no sales, but you were forced to give out free gifts. How steady would your paycheck be?

Quit freeloading!!!!!!

Mike on June 30, 2009:

You people don't get it, especially the ring leader Embitca. Embitca, why do you keep going to these presentations? You are the con artist. For all of you that agree with Embitca, each of your jobs depend on someone selling something to somebody. Directly, or indirectly, you get paid because someone is selling a product that your company offers. Who are you to decide that your company's product is worth what people pay, but a timeshare is not worth it? How safe would your job be, if everyone was advised to not buy your company's product. I am sure each of you will say that your company does not try to cheat people - well, who are you to say or determine that?

Embitca, people like you are part of the problem. You show up to a timeshare presentation with no intention of buying, showing no respect to a hardworking salesperson, looking to put the product they sell down. You put up such an unfair wall that the salesperson is forced to sometinmes go over the top to sell their product.

Irresponsible media is a big problem in this country. Embitca is a perfect example of someone usingthe media to trashsomething they have no business doing. Embitca, do you think you are protecting people? You are nothing but a self-serving cancer. Your "short-tempered" and unprofessional responses to anyone disagreeing with you shows how much class you have.

Keep up the "good" work!!!

BetsyIckes from Pennsylvania on June 14, 2009:

I've been to several time share presentations over the years.

Finally a couple years back I found the one that fitted my needs through Starwood.

You have to very careful and go over the facts when you are at these things and how much use you will get out of them.

Emma (author) from Boston on May 22, 2009:

Cassandra, thanks for your comments. I've been to timeshare presentations where they explain that they are going to "ship your gift". It happens.

Timeshare resorts that offer daily housekeeping do so at extra cost. Daily housekeeping is an included service at hotels.

Cassandra on May 22, 2009:

I would like to comment on some of the things that you said in your article. Let me just start and say that I am a timeshare sales agent and I am very happy with what I do.

"While fraud used to be pretty common in the industry, particularly in Florida, it has cleaned up its act considerably over the years, thanks to strong consumer protection laws and the entrance of larger corporate players (Marriott, Hilton, Disney) into the marketplace."

This is true that timeshare used to be a very shady industry. <!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --The Consumer protection agency ARDA is the national trade organization for vacation owners. It was established over 20 years to world for the state and national regulations. ARDA ensures that its members, comply with a strict code of standards and ethics.(www.arda.org)

"However, timeshare sales people are still prone to making misleading statements."

True, there are some companies that encourage their representatives to be misleading. However, where I work, we have a compliance team that makes sure that if an agent lies, then he/she is terminated. Not only that, our company has families that go on tours in order to make sure that our representatives are not being misleading to the public.

"But the real truth is that YOU WILL NEVER MAKE YOUR MONEY BACK and you certainly won't make a profit. While 50% may be an average loss of price, timeshares can lose as much as 90% of their "value" after the closing."

This maybe true, that is why I never tell the public that this is an investment. Timeshares actually depreciate in value like cars.

"Be wary of the prizes and gifts. This tip comes into play before you agree to go to the presentation. It is usually not even worth the hassle of attending unless the gift is FREE. This means you should not be paying shipping & handling for anything, because I can guarantee that the value of your gift will be no more than the actual s&h on it."

I am not sure what you are talking about here, we give people the gift while they are there. Why would anyone have to pay shipping & handling?

"Actually, you love hotels because you love room service, turndown service and daily housekeeping. Timeshares offer none of those."

This is not actually true. We offer those services at our resort.

"Depending on your state you will have 5-15 days to rescind (get out off) your contract and get your deposit money back."

By Florida Law, it is ten days, which we do disclose to everyone. They are told when they go into to deeding.

"you're stuck with it and might as well just start enjoying your vacations."

There are people who actually enjoy their timeshares. However, it is not for everyone.

I am honest to anyone and everyone that walks through those doors. If someone doesn't buy from me, then that is their choice. Honestly, I would never sit through a two hour presentation just to get a gift; I just don't have the patience. If anyone has any questions, then I would be happy to answer them: LadyDay1979@gmail.com. Thanks and God Bless.

Big Mike on May 19, 2009:

To All:

If you are considering a TS presentation. There is only one question to ask yourself. Is the gifting worth my time? Here are some suggestions and the surefire plan I use and it works every time. I am a 2 week TS owner at Sheraton Vistana (the nicest TS for the money) 2 Bedroom and 2 weeks at Star Island (now Wyndham) 3 Bedroom. I love my TS's because I use them. I paid a total of $6000 total for 4 weeks of vacation/year from resales and ebay. No problems or not treated any differently as an owner. It's your property! But you must know how to use them correctly.

Here's the plan:

1. Never ever buy from the developer or TS place. The value lost is worse than driving a new car off the lot. You will lose 75-90% of its value. Buy resale or ebay. Make sure to check carefully reputability of seller.

2. Be educated. Know the TS lingo and the the law. According to Florida law, they have to be complete with the presentation at the time promised to you and your gift received. Your time actually starts after the complimentary breakfast or lunch. When the sales rep starts talking, point out to your spouse that is is 9:15 or whatever time. Once they know you are wise, the presentation is cut way back. Let the sales rep know that the presentation must be complete at 10:45 or 11:15.

3. If you already own a TS, let them know. I tell them to save their talk about the benefits of vacation ownership etc. Time saver.

4. Listen and be courteous but never show interest. If the bait is dangled like a worm to a fish and you show any interest, they are waiting to set the hook and reel you in. Do not say phrases like "This is so beautiful, the kids would love this place" or "I think we can make it happen" If your going to say anything say "Definitely not we are looking for for this kind of money"

5. If you are going o visit multiple resorts, Make an itinerary. Know what timeshares you want to visit before going and set them up ahead of time. Find comparable resales or ebay auctions and print them out and bring them with you. Know the likes and dislikes of the resort you will visit before you visit. This will also cuts down on the presentation time.

Our last visit to Orlando, my wife and I stayed for 2 weeks. Our adult children like to sleep in so we would plan TS presentations in the am for our free breakfasts and tickets and we are usually back to our villa by 9:30 am. We procured over $1800 in tickets for our family of 6 from 7 TS visits. We went to Disney , Universal, Dinner Shows, and didn't pay a dime. Again how much is your time worth???

6. No is not a bad word. Learn to use it frequently. If the sale becomes high pressure or the sales rep becomes rude simply state "what part of no do you not understand?" and state "this presentation is now over", especially if his time is up. Being a little rude yourself after being courteous throughout is OK. If the manager or finance guy come over simply state the same thing again. Don't let them go through their speel. You will never see these people again and most times you'll walk out with over $150 in gifting. Don't ever feel guilty about that.

We have been called timeshare "pros" by more than one sales rep. We have been told that we shouldn't waste their time and my come back is always "Then don't invite us. We took you up on your offer, we came with an open mind, we went on your tour, we understood we were under no obligation to buy, and that we would receive FREE tickets. What part of the obligation did we not live up to?" After that we are usually ushered out.

You can visit these places every 6 months to a year so if you visit the following year go back and get a couple or more FREE gifts. Don't feel guilty, you were invited so take advantage.

Happy timesharing,

Big Mike

Jmell from El Paso, Texas, USA on May 17, 2009:

Victim of timeshare purchase here! LOL.....wonderful resort, great company plan, coulda -shoulda, but didn't!

mjord on April 19, 2009:

I have to say that is a pretty weak way of getting out of anything. Any great sales person knows all angles of the close. You have take-away, suggestive, last one.. which is pretty lame.There are so many different ways. Guys thanks for attending the presentations, I always love to hear new objections. Happy hunting.

iam_jaye on April 09, 2009:

Great, great post (hub). One tactic I have always used, be it cars or TS, is this:

Scenario 1:

Me: So, is this car (Timeshare) really popular?

TS: Yes! Yes it is! Many people buy left and right (or are coming to look and buy tomorrow)

Me: Great! Then I won't feel guilty not buying today, because the next person that comes in will just buy it then.

TS: #*($&!

Scenario 2:

Me: So, is this car (Timeshare) really popular?

TS: No, in fact you'll be one of the very few people to own such a thing.

Me: Then I don't want to buy something that other people have said no to, too. There must be something wrong with it.

TS: @#*$^!!!!!

spence on April 03, 2009:

Okay i have to agree that attending these presentations and taking the free gifts with no intention purchasing is immoral. It's like wasting a salesmens time in a store by asking a lot of questions when you intend to purchase the product online. It doesn't matter if the TS salesmen are dispicable people, which I am quite sure they are, it is still not right to freeload like that. I think if you really want to attend one of these presentations to see what it's all about, but have NO intention of buying, then you should not accept any free anything. The thing is even the people that 'have an open mind' (actual potential buyers) probably would not go to the presentations unless there were free gifts. So the people with zero intention are just wasting the sellers time. It is NEVER ethical to intentionally waste LARGE portions of someones time commission or no commision.

You might say then 'but I told them up front that I was not interested in their product'. Then why are you there wasting THEIR time in the first place? So you can get free gifts at their company's expense? Talk about low class.

I am not siding with the salepeople. I HATE salepeople when they are trying to sale something to you. Anytime someone tries to sell me something I immediately become disinterested. Main reason is because I want to be knowledgable and sure of my purchase and usually salemen that employ aggressive tactics are full of it.

I am not trying to say you are a bad person by freeloading off these rapscallions but it is unethical to do so, even if they are rapscallions.

RN4072 on March 24, 2009:

I went on a discounted trip to Florida. Never Again! The rooms were crummy, in terrible neighborhoods, it took hours to get our voucher tickets and the timeshare presentation (1-2 hours) turned into a day long event. Even though I said up front, I'm not buying the salesperson said she was obligated to show us the property and sales literature. She should have listened and moved on to another warm body because she wasted her day with me. I'd rather spend a little more money and save my time in the future. Great hub embitca!

Greg on March 12, 2009:

Hi Embitca, thanks for giving me confident. Here is the website at http://www.toa.me that would help you get out of the contract for $499 fee, before rescission period ends. However, the fee is $999 if the rescission period already expired. This might be worth it for some people who do not want to deal with the developer. I found the website from search and there are few out there that offer the same type of service. I also learned that there are companies that sell and rent TS for owner who would tell you that it's easy to rent and sell TS and owner would get a lot of money. Of course they would also charge $500 to $1,000 for the service. Please check this website at http://www.sellmytimesharenow.com to find out how much your TS really worth before you are renting or selling.

Emma (author) from Boston on March 11, 2009:

Greg, you do not need to spend $499 to cancel your timeshare. Any company that is offering a service like that is just fear-mongering. While the high pressure sales tactics are not appropriate, US timeshare companies do follow the law. You will not have any problem cancelling your purchase as long as you follow instructions and send in your notice on time. Just do the certified lette rwith return receipt.

Oh, also, could you send me a link for the service offering to do it for you? I'd like to write an article about how unnecessary something like that is.

Greg on March 11, 2009:

Hi, we just came back on Monday from a free vacation at Massanutten Resort in Virginia and were preasured to purchase a one week timeshare. Now, it's Wednesday morning and we want to get out of the contract. The contract says that we have 7 days to cancel by certified mail. We are not sure if this will be sufficient. We are thinking about using a service from the internet that will cancel it for us for $499 fee. Honestly, we do not want to spend the money, but we are not sure that the certified letter with return receive requested would be sufficient? Are we worrying too much? Thanks!

daytrotta on March 05, 2009:

Although my wife and I own a timeshare (Bluegreen) we make it part of our vacation to make a day of going to TS presentations. We look at it as gravy to shop, play, upgrade our dining experience, or otherwise enhance our pleasure while we're on vacation. Most TS presentations are intense but also rehearsed so we have gotten used to saying "no" at the end. I just wished we could cut that 3-5 hour marathon down!! Embitca thanks for this forum!! I would like to ask...is it possible to go online and find the TS that gives the best stuff?? Especially in the Myrtle Beach, SC and Orlando areas. A crazy question yes but hopefully you can give me some direction in this. Thanks again!!

sarah on March 05, 2009:

People who go on a sales presentation with no intention of buying anything are the worst kind of freeloader. They know it so they just justify it with all these comments, like the gift, ect, ect,. When in the end they are just a bunch or moochers. The worst kind of peopple.

sgjerome from Singapore on March 04, 2009:

Everyone have attend timeshare so am I in Singapore. Recently Singapore had ban Timeshare

If there are no hard selling and allow clients to go back and think.

Be more transparent in the price and the value of the timeshare or other membership program

Wendy on March 04, 2009:

We relalized that afte talking to others after we left there ab out the resort. What was weird about the whole thing was that this Jamacain lady was our salesman and she seemed really nice until she told me that frugal people like me who have to think about buying is the reason 80% of Businesses here in America are owned by Foreigners because we Americans "Have to think about it" I had ran into a lady in the restroom that was litterly in tears and had been there for 3 hours. She said she could not get away and she was tired. They were herding them in and out of there like cattle. I am sure there are better timeshare tours out there but we just happen to pick the wrong one.

Emma (author) from Boston on March 03, 2009:

Wendy, glad you walked away. Mystic Dunes is really not the nicest timeshare in Orlando anyway. I think it looks too much like an apartment complex.

Wendy on March 03, 2009:

I can't believe what I am reading. I have to tell you that I just returned from Florida and attended a timeshare at Mystic Dunes. We are in our fifties and were really interested in what timeshares were all about. We were not in it for any free tickets but decided we would take the space center tickets. Well let me tell you that we were treated with so much disrespect from the beginning that they lost my interest within the first half hour. After one hour I litterly got up and and said we had had enough and it was too bad because we really were interested. This was our first timeshare experience and our last. Its not worth it folks unless you want to be ground into the dirt. Most of the salesman were foreigners and let you know that too.S

Gary Anderson from Las Vegas, Nevada on February 18, 2009:

I don't think Wyndam guys are unethical, just damn good at what they do. I have a different take as well. I have a lot of discounted bonus time available and it is great both for me and my family. Over the course of a lifetime, this bonus time adds up. I could only afford the minimum points in Wyndam, but now I can say to all others that I already have one!

I think that this hub is valid regarding many timeshare salesmen, and women, but not all.

Michael on January 19, 2009:

I own with Diamond (formerly Sunterra), and have attended numerous presentations. My favourite is Marriott, no pressure and nice gifts, although Wyndam came close. I dislike the "owner updates" at Diamond though since you basically have to sit through another timeshare presentation for something you've already brought. Fortunately we're good at saying "no" and only go if the gifts are worth our time. A minor note, having young, restless kids sometimes helps get out of the presentation quicker - although Westgate didn't take the hint...

SKlocinski from Toledo Ohio on January 18, 2009:

My husband and I have spent several vacations at time share resorts. We have found that the best thing to do is to say up front when you first walk in (this is when they hit you up with "free gifts" to attend a time share presentation) that you are not interested in a time share presentation and you don't want their "free" gifts. Trust me, you will be much happier. Just be very firm. Of course if you feel the "gift" (or bribe) is worth sitting through a long boring, high-pressure sales pitch, be my guest

Peter Howard on January 12, 2009:

I've read this and think it's brilliant. I worked in crimeshare for 3 years and did very well. Eventually I felt bad and left. We were given drugs as rewards for lying (mainly cocaine) and doing whatever it took to get the deal!

Make no mistake, there are meetings every morning to prep us on how to lie and what to say. One of my favourites was getting a puppy and letting the kids of the family play with it during the presentation. It keeps them quiet for the 5 hours you'll keep Mum and Dad there, and the kids (most importantly) will want to stay!

It does not end there, at the end when Mum and Dad want to go - you tell the kids quite simply and calmly that they can keep the puppy (by now you have even encouraged the kids to name it) if their parents buy. Just before you walk away you tell the kids that their parents would do it if they loved them. You then have to walk away quick as Dad wants to punch you, but leave the pen and contract there. Stand back and watch the kids close the parents. Worked every time!

I am not proud of what I have done, but made a hell of a lot of money and am currently in talks with 2 publishers on a book based on a lot of the above. I did well, stayed for years and left with a bag of cash.

Timeshare works on greed, the couples greed for a gift and a better deal for holidays, and the reps greed of money and drugs. That cycle will stay and grow as long as suckers belive all they are told and continue to buy. I know I'm scum so only post serious questions please x

Emma (author) from Boston on January 04, 2009:

Nope! The only time you'd be required to sit through a presentation is if you were staying at the resort on a promotional rate and then the requirement will be clearly outlined in the paperwork.

jrw_sound on January 04, 2009:

Thanks! On the other hand, if friends of ours let us use their week (Marriot owners) would we be required to sit through a presentation there?

I appreciate your knowledge and information.

Emma (author) from Boston on January 02, 2009:

Hi Jrw, if you are renting through RCI (either Last Call or Extra Vacations) you are NOT required to sit through a presentation.

You will definitely be invited to one though and usually they aren't upfront about what it is -- turn down offers of free breakfast or lunch and turn down "owners updates" and "check-in surveys". Don't answer your phone in the unit or simply unplug it. Enjoy your vacation!!

jrw_sound on January 02, 2009:

Very informative. My wife and I are in our mid-30's and just began traveling last year. My aunt and uncle are owners in RCI and have suggested that we use one of their "Last Call" options for Feb. (Currently the only Gold Crown property that isn't mandatory A.I. for Mexico is the Inn At Mazatlan.) If we go with something like this will we be required to sit through a presentation? We are not debaters like you and we won't do well with high-pressure (although we will certainly not cave in and buy).

Emma (author) from Boston on December 21, 2008:

Thanks for the comment, Marko. Five presentations in 10 days. Wow! I couldn't do it myself, but it sounds like you have a solid plan for getting in and out in the proper amount of time. My problem is I usually cannot help myself and start arguing about the merits of buying from a developer. But I like your approach of ignoring the timeshare property in favor of finding out about the sales person instead. You are right. People do love to talk about themselves :)

marko on December 21, 2008:

My wife and I attended five presentations dureing our ten day stay in Mazatlan last February. We made most of our arrangements with a "wrangler" we met on our first trip, a year earlier. He worked out of a booth near our hotel, and was able to arrange presentations for most of the properties in Mazatlan. We always negotiated with him for CASH ONLY. In one case, he was only able to offer coupons and excursions, but agreed to pay us CASH for the certificates following the presentation. He kept his word, and was waiting for us outside the hotel when we finished the tour. The CASH we received ranged from $175 to $250 per presentation.

From the outset, we always told our salesperson we were not interested in buying, and that we had researched the value of timeshares on the resale market. All of our presentations included a breakfast which ranged from eggs and bacon to spectacular buffets with champagne!

None of our presentations lasted more than the 90 minutes promised. One property thought they'd punnish us by making us wait for a ride back to our hotel. Instead of getting upset, we hopped in a cab and paid the $10 fare with the resort's CASH. The key to a short tour is to show no interest in the property itself. Rather, we would ask our salesperson questions about themselves. "How did you get involed in selling timeshares? What brought you to Mazatlan? What do you do in your spare time? What are your favorite restaurants in town?" Salespeople LOVE to talk about themselves and, as Polly noted, there is no need to be rude or confrontational with them. Don't look at them as an adversary.

We have no ethical issues with taking the promotional offers. We spent the CASH we earned on tours to do things we wouldn't have been able to afford. We dined in fine style, and tipped very well. We spent every dime, and made a sizable donation to the Vinyard ministry which feeds the poor children in Mazatlan. We are considering buying a timeshare on E-bay or renting weeks from current owners. Like other posters have noted, don't attend one of these tours unless you can say "no"...repeatedly.

callaway on December 20, 2008:

Timeshares are a good way for a free vacation this time of year in Myrtle Beach if you can stand them. I am leaving next week. the prices drop this time of year to almost nothing. I am staying at the Crown Reef Resort for $35 a night. We will attend 2 timeshare presentations on the 1st day we are there and will receive $200 per the first and $150 and 2 free rounds of golf for the 2nd. It makes for a long day but when you look at what you get it is well worth it. It turns a decent vacation for the price into a much better one. I highly recommend timeshares to anyone out there but I will add to avoid Blue/Green resorts, they are very long and very pushy.

FrankRod on December 05, 2008:

Nice hub - 99 percent of timeshares are just not a good deal. The presentations paint such an attractive picture, but it rarely works out that way. You're really better off getting a hotel of your choice, when you need it. That way you don't have to worry about availibilty. When you consider the constant rising annual fees and the consistent unavailibilty it's hard to justify. There's a reason why timeshres are sold and not bought...

Emma (author) from Boston on November 23, 2008:

Aussie Joe, thanks for commenting! I would love it if you did a hub about car sales. I think that would be awesome!

Aussie Joe on November 23, 2008:

As a former car salesman I can relate to all the tactics employed in the TS presentation,as they are identical to the methods employed by the car industry. View the film "Suckers"and you will come very close to reality. Pollie...what can I say....LOSER!!!! Good grief, can you really defend what you do?? Your, multi-mlion dollar resort? If it was really yours, you would not be peddling your wares for the the meagre amount on offer as commission for seling TS..

It is hard work to sell a product; any product but I am pleased to say that it is not difficult to sell a product worth the retail tag. TS is notoriously difficult to sell because it is clearly not worth the asking price, and only the totally gullible wil fall for such outragious prices. There is no need for such hard sell if if the product is so desirable. Think about it people.

I must make a hub about car sales to enlighten the general populace.

Great hub embitca. I will try to read some more of yours when I have the time.

Aussie Joe.

Reg Brittain from South Burlington, VT, USA on November 22, 2008:

This hub is outstanding. Very informative and well written!


Emma (author) from Boston on November 04, 2008:

PV, I'mnot really sure. I've never heard of that happening, but I suppose anything is possible. Though since it is an enticement to sit through a sales presentation, they may have a legal obligation.

PV on November 04, 2008:

I have a question: Say you sit through this high pressure tactic sales pitch and say no, can they, at the end of it, deny you the free gifts/the price they offered you to stay in the resort/condo?


roy on October 30, 2008:

guys if you really wanna make big bucks you should come to puerto vallarta you can easily make 300 dlls for a time share presentation ,,,,,just play the game.....

Ariz on October 16, 2008:

I was insulted by a timeshare salesman on my very first timeshare tour. My wife and I were in Orlando when we were offered a couple of tickets to SeaWorld to attend a presentation. When I said NO to the salesman, he flat out called a cheap bastard for not buying to take my wife on vacation more. From that point on, it's became my personal thing to just show up at timeshare presentation and get whatever I can for free. I have read so much about timeshare since then, and have purchased a couple of timeshare (resales), and enjoyed them very much. However, I still show up at timeshare presentations, simply because I still hate timeshare salespeople. So I encourage everybody else not to feel sorry for them, waist their time as much as you could. And when you feel like you gave them enough, just say NO and walked out with the free stuffs.

gREG on October 11, 2008:

Great hub and very informative but I have an additional suggestion for surviving a time share presentation and getting the gift with little hassle. I have used this technique a few times and it always works....when the salesperson asks you where you would like to travel or vacation, mention a country like Jordan or Egypt or somewhere else exotic where you know they don't have any properties; the blank look on his or her face will be priceless as they have no witty or sharp retort. Do some research on the company and find out where they DON'T have any properties and they will be unable to use their high pressure sales pitch on you!

pat on October 03, 2008:

Pollie, my sister baught a timeshare from bluegreen and they love it. She refered me and I was called and offered a free weekend and was told over and over that no purchase was required. I fully intend to have my free beach weekend and have no intention of buying a time share. I also fully expect to be bullied and intimidated when say I don't want to buy. That will be the price I pay for a free trip. If you don't want people doing this then you sould not offer free beach weekends.

KSTEAM from Scottsdale, AZ on September 10, 2008:

A lot of people I know are trying to get rid of those timeshares. You pay about $200-$400 dollars a month plus yearly maintenance fees for them and you get 1 week a year to stay in them. I guess thats a great deal for some, or for the rest, you can just attend a timeshare and get a free gift for a vacation and use that free gift every year to go wherever you need to go.

I have been to some timeshare presentations that really made me want to buy in but I had to get out of there. (LOL) Some of those gifts are crappy. They sound good until you start the process of trying to use the gift. You get sent through a bunch of loopholes until you end up not even getting a chance to use the darn thing.

admmturbousa on September 02, 2008:

I have done 3 timeshare presentations over 5 year period and received alot free gifts ..... I feel they should pay your time .... I did research the math and price doesn't add up.... I do not buy on impulse , make a common sense choice !

haveittodayray on August 28, 2008:

Words of advice and caution. If you cannot resist sales pressure, then never attend a time sale presentation. And if they say it will be only a 2or 3 hour tour, plan to spend between 3 and 5 hours there. In a nutshell, the whole time share industry is overpriced and never, repeat never, purchase a time share at any presentation. Simply type in on a Google search, time shares, or timeshares resales, and you will literally come up with hundreds of sites. As a general rule you can purchase any time share on the resale market for up to 90% percent off the orginal asking price, at a time share presentation. Often for 10 to 25 cents on the dollar. The reason you can do that is that the commissions and overhead involved at these presentations is just ridiculous.

They prey on the the customer "emotions" with the lure of free money, free tickets and free gifts and drawings. Also, very slick info commercials, or screen presentations are made while your on your "so called" 2 hour tour.

Having said all that, if your not afraid of high pressure salesmen, and can resist them, then by all means take advantage of their freebies, which can include money, gifts, and tickets to great shows, or discounted tickets to local events.

As someone mentioned, as part of any time share contract you sign, you have a 3 to 5 day right to rescind the contract, in many cases not counting the weekend, so you actually have more time. So be careful out there, your outnumbered, and out gunned in all time share presentations, by powerful trained sales professsionals.

As a final note, make sure you understand the "maintenance fees" your obligated to pay every year to infinity, whether you purchase on a resale or not. Some of these fees can run from the low hundreds per year to thousands per year, be careful out there "caveat emptor" buyer be ware.

Warm regards


twisteddman from Eugene, Oregon on August 03, 2008:

I just wanted to point out that you can get some pretty good stuff from these presentations. The person who signs you up always offers you something enticing, but he has been authorized to offer you alot more. They have a dollar amount they can give away in gifts or cash. You can ask for whatever you want. I wrote an article about it in my Tips for having a better vacation trip hub. Check it out and next time someone offers you something for going to a timshare presentation ,ask for a lot more. Enjoy the food and listen to there offer , say no, and get your goodies. Its that easy.

To people who do the selling of time shares for a living and believe this is somehow fruadulent to do. Sorry your wrong. You are giving me the stuff so i will go and listgen to you ,so you can try and convince me to buy. I am in no way obligated to buy it , only to listen to your sales pitch. If the pitch doesn't\'t work that is your problem.

megasuite from Illinois on August 01, 2008:

My husband and I went to one in Bahamas. The guy got so angry with us for not taking the offer that he left us at the site. You talk about rude! It was some kind of an experience. He drove away in his top down red convertible. That was our first and our last presentation! We eventually got a ride back to town. . . Thanks for the informative hub.

2patricias from Sussex by the Sea on July 29, 2008:

I've been to one timeshare presentation (ever), out of curiosity. It was only 9 miles from home, so not on holiday (we do live by the sea though). The sales pressure was intense! The 'prize for attending' was a free weekend, but the dates available were all impossible for anyone with school children! Never again.

Thanks for the hub.

Vic on July 28, 2008:

I'm sure there's a percentage of people who go through the presentation, make the purchase, and then are thrilled with no regrets. The problem is that I'm pretty sure that the percentage is very small. It's sure to be that way when you have a situation where you're worn down for three hours and then required to make a decision then and there for a pretty good sum of money.

james on July 25, 2008:

the problem us consumers have in general is:

before going to a presentation, we are offered our free gifts just for "attending the presentation..".... remember, we are actually offer something for free in exhange for the "2 hours" attendance..... its only natural for anybody to want to get the free things when someone is offering them .... why would we not want the free gifts? there is no excuse for consumers being rude to you,,common courtesy is the way to go... however some of the rudeness maybe prompted by the sales pressure,, when a time sare rep sits down and starts acting the consumer questions regarding what they want, their finances etc..... when we sign up for the free stuf and presentation- nobody tells us that we are going to have to answer numberous questions.... once again: we are offerd free stuff for our time- so don't expect us to be open minded into commiting to making a mult-thousand dollar purchase! we are there for free stuff..... its not our responsibility to be concered with whether or not the sales person makes any money that day.... but it is only right that a consumer should be nice and thankful to the sales presenter for their effort.. and have some empathy that the sales person is in a tough business that is most likely commision based..... but don't be down on us for not being open minded... we may be open minded to some degree but not necessarily so open minded that we are going to commit to the thousands of dolllars that a time share cost...

Ryan on July 15, 2008:

Great article! I've been to Orlando many times and have often wondered about timeshares. I appreciate the insight.

Emma (author) from Boston on July 11, 2008:

Thanks, Caspar. And yup, the comments certainly make for some interesting reading *g*

caspar from UK on July 11, 2008:

A really interesting hub Embitca, and the comments are a good read too - thanks!

Emma (author) from Boston on July 09, 2008:

Chad, if you bought a timeshare from the developer, you overpaid. Plain and simple. Since I can't afford $80 bucks for bagel and coffee, I prefer to buy resale.

Timeshare companies promote the free gifts because they know that is the reason that people attend timeshare presentations. They fully expect that 90% of the people attending a presentation have no intention of buying. Their hope is that their sales staff is good enough to sell a timeshare to someone who has no intention of buying one anyway. I do not concern myself with worrying about sales people. If they do not appreciate the fact that their job is a numbers game and a bit of a con, they should GET ANOTHER JOB. Being a car dealer would be less heinous.

Your experience also is remarkably different from what MOST people will experience at any timeshare presentation. This article is not about the exceptions such as the presentation you attended or any presentation put on by Disney Vacation Club (also a no pressure presentation), it is about the rule -- which is high pressure sales tactics.

chad on July 08, 2008:

I am amazed that this embitca presumes to know everything about sales presentations. Your needs and budget apparently are not going to be the same as other families for the one time a year families actually get the opportunity to spend quality time together. We recently attended a presentation on Paradise Island, Bahamas and none of the thins you mentioned were a part of that experience. We we informed that at any point if we felt pressured we could walk away. It so happens that we bought an incredible time share that allows me to spend quality time with my family twice a year and not be subjected to ridiculous resort prices and rate gougeing. Maybe you are one of those people who can afford $80 bucks for a bagel and coffee for breakfast, NOT EVERYONE MAY BE AS WEALTHY AS YOU!

Sales people are people too and as such have to provide for their families just like you. As opposed to going free gift hunting and waisting these people's time simply don't. If you know, SUPPOSEDLY what is going to happen when you get there, little simple advice......DON"T GO!

Jeff R on July 07, 2008:

Well, very interesting....We are going on a TS tour at the end of the month -- in exchange for a very low all-inclusive rental rate in Mexico. We've been on a couple before, and they are NOT fun! But I like the ideas here, particularly, bringing other online offers and telling them the place isn't up to snuff. In reality, this will probably be the case, as we've stayed in what we suspect are a lot better places.

Pollie - all sales jobs I've ever heard of is a numbers game. You'll not sell near what you tour...but you know that. I respect your job, and might actually buy one of these if I ever thought there was a good deal out there. So far, the math just doesn't work. As long as I can buy a TS week deeply discounted off the Internet, or just get excellent rates for rentals, what is my incentive to buy? Hopefully, not guilt!

I have a friend that came out well in a TS to all-inclusive conversion, but he goes to the same place every year...and it was a fluke.

Like I said, we're going to go and listen and won't be rude, but it's their job to sell us not our job to explain why we don't want to buy. Frankly, if more TS sellers would back off a little and actually sell the virtues of the product, rather than the would-be buyers' inadequacies for not "seeing the obvious value" or "being a cheapskate", people might come in a little less defensive and a lot more open-minded. As I was told many years ago when I dabbled in sales...a good product sells itself.

Good luck to you Pollie, and to all...thanks for a good thread!

JefF R

Emma (author) from Boston on July 07, 2008:

David, thanks for the tips! I really like the "It's just not as nice as we were expecting".... delivered with a really disappointed tone of course LOL

David C. on July 07, 2008:

I'd like to echo some points, especially if you plan on being a mooch:

First, planning:

1a) Schedule a day or part of a day for tours if you think you might get roped in (or if you actively troll the off-site presenters, / grabbers), say Tuesday. And only do them on that day. That way you could feel less put out if a presentation went long beyond your best efforts to contain.

1b) Have a pretty good idea of the type of incentive you want (cash / tickets). Ask for it, even if its not offered. Example: We wanted aquarium tickets. We asked for aquarium tickets. We got aquarium tickets.

2) I'm not a big believer in being upfront, right away, with your intention not to buy until after you've toured the model unit. I think a good line is "It's just not as nice as we were expecting." My wife likes, "We haven't seen anything that makes us want to change what we're doing now."

Military member on July 06, 2008:

Dear Pollie Sigh,

Cry me a river! You chose your job-it didn't choose you! You get what you get! Get a REAL JOB! I get up much earlier than 0430 myself being in the military! You want me to feel sorry for you?

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