It has figured very prominently in the vast majority, if not all timeshare sales, “buying your holiday home” and “investment”. Probably the first of the main “evils”, is the inference that you are purchasing “real estate” and as we all know it “goes up in value”, (investment).
Probably the biggest in Europe was the Resort Properties, Silverpoint & Azure sales, the selling of multiple weeks with the “promise” of “rental income” and a “profitable” resale. We all know what happened to those “investments”.
From the very beginning of timeshare sales, it has been portrayed as “property”, the early “resale” scams used it to great effect in ripping people off. But over the years most of the older owners have realised that it is nothing of the sort, it is virtually worthless.
In Europe there are very few in the business of resale, the only “genuine” companies are members of the RDO and ARDA, as for the resale scam, that is all but dead. However, in the US it is alive and kicking especially on the scamming front. Unfortunately, many are still believing it.
So it was quite a shock to see this inference being used to sell a “Vacation Club” on the website of an RDO member resale company. AIT was asked about Oasis Vacation Club, and a link was sent showing it for sale, it is the Travel & Leisure Group, (a UK-registered company), on their website the opening paragraph makes you wonder if there is a problem.
“At Travel & Leisure Group, we have possibly the largest inventory of ownership available at Oasis Vacation Club at competitive prices. Most sellers are open to offers. We have many more weeks in stock and have access to thousands of weeks from other companies.“
They happen to have the largest “inventory” with more in “stock” plus the added bonus of “access” to “thousands” of weeks from other companies. How many weeks are actually available, and why are there so many “for sale”? The link above takes you to their listings, the first shown is “2 Floating weeks” in “Low” season for ONLY £17,500 (asking price).
The following paragraph is a typical “timeshare sales” opener, “Enjoy a home-from-home experience at Oasis Vacation Club” as the title. The paragraph itself is straight from “Timeshare Sales 101”, with the “Guaranteed” yearly getaway, very closely followed by the “financial logic” section of the “pencil pitch” with the “potential” savings. Hang on a minute, the example of the resale is “floating weeks”, so where does the “Guaranteed” come in, are they not subject to availability as you don’t “own” a “specific” week or “specific” apartment as in a “FIXED” week.
The next title is the subtle “invitation” to “Rent Oasis Vacation Club before you buy”, what was once called the “fly-buy”. You can just imagine the sales rep in front of you saying this line, “Of course, we want you to be absolutely delighted with your new holiday home. So before you make a long term investment with Oasis Vacation Club why not try renting first?”. Bring back any memories?
The last paragraph, “Selling and resales at Oasis Vacation Club”, is just the usual stuff about how they are “specialists” in selling Oasis Vacation Club, so if you want a “great price” for your timeshare, just look at all our “advertising”. OK, it all looks impressive, but I am still troubled by the “thousands” of weeks in stock, yet still asking for more. Isn’t the main complaint about “floating weeks & points”, availability, more members than actual physical weeks available?
We know sales in Europe have slackened, well crashed would probably be a better word, with sales decks closed, sales reps and managers laid off, and no OPCs or “ticket touts” standing around the main tourist areas hoping to “kidnap” you for a “tour”. The question we have to ask is are these resales actually selling if they are actually resales, and how is the company making its money, after all, it is illegal to take any payment upfront to list your timeshare for resale. We know they will have various “marketing” packages to “improve” your chances of selling, at a cost and upfront, that is not illegal.
It is marketing after all, but using a technique taken directly from “Timeshare Sales 101”, we would have thought if you are buying a resale (first-time purchaser) you will probably have done a bit of homework and figured out that it is not “property” or an “investment”, but a commitment to pay the annual fees with no “Guarantee” of availability. If you already own one, then you are probably just looking for a bargain to add to your weeks.
What do you the readers think, is this “pitch” appropriate in selling timeshare today, perpetuating the myth of “property” & “investment”, use the comments section and let us know.
We end the week tomorrow with “Cantrell v Westgate Resorts – The Elusive Public Offering Statement” By Benn Dover, a Westgate Timeshare Hostage. This continues the previous article published in February “Florida HB 575: Does The Consumer Lose?”