How one-week single usage timeshare options are misleading and dishonest. The second of four installments beginning with our previous story on timeshare nightmares.
It’s very fitting when you consider that Las Vegas is the number one place for timeshare sales in the United States. I now completely understand why timeshare companies are so willing to offer free vacations worth a few hundred dollars, just to get you into their presentation. Just as most gamblers (including myself) don’t consider the long-term statistics or relevant facts of the situation, timeshare buyers share this mentality. The difference is gamblers have close to a 50 percent chance of winning at some games like blackjack. Winning from buying a timeshare in Vegas, however, is impossible.
In the previous installment I described how Westgate Resorts in Las Vegas used dishonest practices and emotional appeal to attempt to sell my wife and I into, what we later found out, was a big-time ripoff timeshare.
Westgate and Grandview both tell potential buyers that they need to enjoy life, take a break from hectic American society. They sell the notion that there is no better way to vacation then by owning a timeshare. However, just as our presentation was wrapping up, a timeshare salesperson was being carted off on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance. The $40,000 commitment doesn’t offer relief but stress. The borrower is slave to the lender, and Westgate Resorts is selling rip-off time shares that the open market offers for nearly half of their asking price.
I wrote my last piece in hopes of helping people from making the mistake of burdening their lives with a rip-off. As I noted in the previous piece, we did end up purchasing the $450 dollar option for one week in any Westgate resort, for attending my brother’s wedding in Florida. The salesperson assured me that we would have no problem booking the room we would want in Florida if we acted right away. What we later found was that a 20 day processing lag prevented us from “acting right away”, and by the time we were able to book our week, the rooms were already sold out in Florida.
I don’t blame the saleslady as I do myself for being duped. Its clear that these salespeople can say nearly anything and get away with it, and they are likely trained to lie. It is only the words in writing or legalese that matter. In the fine-print, we also later learned that Florida (Miami Beach) is also excluded from the one-week purchase agreement. I don’t believe our salesperson intentionally lied to us, I think, more likely the sales agents don’t know any of the fine print and they are free to sale as they wish.
The second lesson I can share is, before considering buying a timeshare be sure to research the deals available on the open market. Buyers should never trust these sales agents, they try to convince you that you are buying an investment that will go up in value when the truth is after you have signed the paper work and walked out the door, most buyers have immediately been suckered into a huge rip-off that is worth thousands less on the open market. Timeshare sales agents have almost no accountability to be honest with their customers. They aren’t real estate agents, therefore they need not worry about losing any type of license, if they are dishonest. The fine print of the contracts absolves them from any liability. The distance people travel to attend these timeshare presentations is another way they can get away with their lies. Very few people from Salt Lake will return to Vegas to find the lyer and beat down their door. Trust these people even less then you would a used car sales person. Save your self the lies. If you want to purchase a timeshare, buy your timeshare on the open-market, at places like sellmytimeshernow.com. The thousands you save will apply to many more free trips or false incentives then they can ever offer.
I’m still not a fan of timeshares over traditional real-estate that you own outright, however, there are timeshare bargains to be found, especially in an economic down-turn. If you have already bought your timeshare from Westgate and you want to get out of it, my recommendation is to wait a year (if you can) until the economy picks up again, then list your timeshare on one of the sites listed on the side-panel.
Story Update: We have now completed our timeshare battle against Westgate in Miami, Florida. In this installment we gain access to one Westgate executive who admits that thier advertising is dishonest. Read the final installment of our popular series released September 10th, 2008 here
My wife and I purchased a unit at Flamingo Bay in Las Vegas in December 2005. Due to an extended illness, we used the unit for the first time , Feb. 2009.
When we purchased, we were shown only one unit, a deluxe two-bedroom. There was no mention during the presentation of other unit types, sizes or styles.
When we arrived for our vacation, we were given a much smaller, and much more poorly appointed unit, a standard two-bedroom. We immediately complained and were told that was what we owned, and there was nothing that would be done for us.
Our contract apparently was switched to a different unit which we had no idea existed.
There are two points that are especially interesting: The sales person who told me that I was stuck told me that switching a contract was “standard operating procedure”. When I met with the property’s GM, he told me that he “hadn’t heard of the issue with the two bedrooms, but had with one-bedroom units”. There was a witness to the meeting with the GM.
At this point, I’d really like to get out of the contract with these people. They are dishonest, know it, and don’t care.