This past weekend, while we were in Vegas indulging in things that are supposed to stay there, we ran into one of those infamous timeshare body snatchers. My wife is better at avoiding people like those, but somehow they get to me.
It started with them saying they could get us show tickets or dinner in exchange for attending a promotion. A lot us have been there – it took me less than a split-second to guess that it was a timeshare presentation. My feet hurt after walking so much previous day anyways, so I stopping for a min didn’t seem like a bad idea. First think I asked them was how long it was going to take: they said 2 hours and that they also provided lunch. Looking at the free gifts, it started with either dinner or show tickets. Then I heard something about Amex gift card, which triggered my interest because I value gift card more than tickets to a particular show or dinner because of flexibility to spend it whichever way we liked – we could even buy the same dinner or show tickets they were offering, if we wished.
2 hours turned into three, but eventually we were able to walk away with $150 Amex gift card (lunch is not worth mentioning since it wasn’t very good). It was my first time attending a timeshare presentation so I wanted to see how much further they went to convince (read pressure) me to buy into their way of thinking.
Here are the things I noticed:
- They try to sell you on big names rather than the features: they talked much about the company, how long it’s been in business and their celebrity endorsement rather than talking about the detailed numbers and how works out better than staying in hotel. Just saying it’s better doesn’t work for me – I needed to see their calculation
- They pressure you into buying it the same day: There is no way I was going to spend thousands of dollars without doing my own research on how good of a deal it was. I tried to explain politely that I needed to do more research and I can come back tomorrow if I thought it was worth it. They didn’t want that, rather kept on insisting that it’s such a good deal that I should take it immediately
- They don’t talk much about maintenance fee or other monthly expenses: in the first 45 mins of presentation, this was never mentioned. When I specifically asked, after beating around the bush, they gave me a dollar figure of 50 a month. That’s $600 a year, which goes up with time
- They try to trick you into thinking about vacation and not about the money you’re going to spend on timeshare: It’s more money than you think it is if you add maintenance charges, and the fact that value the points depends on the time and place you want to book. Similar to hotel reward points, which can be less valuable if you’re trying to go to New York to see the ball drop
- They tried to get us to sign a document authorizing a credit check: this was specially bad, since we didn’t even talk about the numbers yet and they wanted to check our credit. They came up with a smart answer that based on our credit score, the payment may be less. I caught their bluff saying why are they assuming I didn’t have money to buy it cash.
Here’s how you can say NO:
- Do more research and compare with what else is out there: I stuck with my story (which is what I truly believe) that I needed to do more research and couldn’t make the decision immediately.
- Think about the free gift: this is the reason you initially signed up for the whole deal in the first place. Why waste time arguing with them whether they have your best interest in mind.
- Read into the numbers: they just like to throw numbers without getting into details; more you ask, answers would get vague which is a sure sign that they don’t know what they’re talking about. ask questions about the stuff they’re hiding: monthly expense, depreciation etc.
- If the answer has to be today, it’s NO: This was my walking away statement, if they’ve been in business for such a long time and it’s such a good deal, why do I have to make a decision today; why can’t I take the time – after-all you’re not going anywhere
Here’s how my economics worked out:
We spent approx 3 hours (2 people) = 6 hours of time
Total reward = $150 (not counting the bad food, which may be $0.5 each)
Per hour earning = $25 (150/6), which is not a bad deal just for listening and having the willpower to say no. Thanks to them, we enjoyed every minute of our 2 hour buffet at Bacchanal!