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The moment you realize your timeshare was grossly overpriced is a painful one. If this post is the reason you are having this feeling for the first time, our sincerest apologies. Our intentions are not to offend anyone, but to provide candid and raw information.

It’s not so devastating to find out that the agent misled you (I’m sure you realized this by now). I mean, sure the timeshare probably didn’t go up in value – but it’s probably worth the same, right?

Nope – it’s worth virtually zero. And it’s not necessarily the salesman’s fault; it’s actually been engrained in you and everyone in America for generations now – real estate value rises. It’s a “truth” that we have all known all our lives up until the real estate bubble collapsed in 2007. Every single person reading this has always seen real estate value increase, so you were sure that the timeshare would at least maintain its value. To be fair, the cards were incredibly stacked against you in the first place – but after the real estate bubble popped in dramatic fashion, there was zero hope.

But we are all looking for that miracle to save us, right?  Well be careful for these two common scams:

This is a how a typical “buyer” scam goes:

Ring…Ring…Ring…. “Mrs. Customer? Hi, it’s Steve over at “I’ll Say Whatever It Takes.” Yup, here we go. “We had your name on a list of persons interested in selling over at [insert resort name here]. We have a buyer that’s interested in your property! He is willing to pay $23,000 for it and is ready to close now!” They make it sound like the heavens just opened up and tapped you on the shoulder to solve your woes. Great, isn’t it?

For those who have never received this phone call, let’s explain how this scam ends:

“Mrs. Customer, it is guaranteed that our mystery buyer is going to purchase your specific week. As a matter of fact, we will have this closed within the next week and will have the money in your hands within 30 days, guaranteed. There are NO fees for our services as the buyer is the one paying us. It’s a very simple sales process, Mrs. Customer. All you need to do is give us an escrow deposit to cover the costs to do a title search and also cover any estoppel fees. The escrow amount is only $3,500. Now don’t worry – its 100% guaranteed that he is going to buy this property. The best part is that once it closes, your $3,500 is added back into the purchase price – which means he pays it back and then we reimburse you. Guaranteed. We are so happy you are willing to sell. I’ll take your credit card information now…” And in the end, the property is never sold and you never get that escrow money you paid.

This is how a typical “list on our website” scam goes:

Ring…Ring…Ring…. “Mrs. Customer? Hi, it’s Steve from www.itwillneversell.com. We just wanted to let you know that your resort is currently in very high demand on our website. As a matter of fact, if you list your property on our website, we will guarantee it will get sold, or your money back.” This scam works in sheer volume, meaning that they only scam people out of $500-$1,500 at a time. Since it is a relatively small “listing fee” it works better because many people think of it as only “half” of their maintenance fee. Unfortunately, people all across the country fall for this scam. All of these people were convinced by the telemarketers guarantee that if it wasn’t sold – they could get their money back.

From what we have uncovered, we can confirm how this scam actually works:

The phone room contacts you and promises that they can list your property on their high demand website and people for a very easy sell. As a matter of fact, “people are selling their weeks all the time on their website”. They tell you that your week should probably be valued at the amount you paid when you first bought it, for example $17,900. Why not list it for this price? They “guarantee to keep your valuable week on our website until its either sold by us or someone else”. Well, the scam was in the wording of that guarantee. They convince you to put up your listing at an absurdly high price, because for you to get your money back – someone would have to buy it from their website at the inflated price of $17,900 – and not a penny less! Now, what about the part of the guarantee where you can get your money back “if it’s sold by someone else”? For you to get your money back from this scam, you would have to find a buyer for their suggested, over inflated, valuation price of $17,900! They convince you to put your listing on their website for a price that it could never sell for – just so the money back guarantee becomes worthless.

In summary, even if you gave your timeshare away to a friend and no longer needed to list it or if you found a buyer for even $500, you wouldn’t get back your listing fee. With this scam there is no way you could get your listing fee back and you technically have no legal authority to request it.

Do not fall for either of these above scams!

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Remember when you were a kid and the ice cream truck would come ring its bell as it came down the street? Everyone ran to the corner, met up with the ice cream man and waited in line to get served. Well, if for some reason by the time you got your turn, he was out of ice cream sandwiches – you were sad – but you understood they were out and you asked for something else. First come, first serve is the standard for business in America.

Now lets take the same scenario as above and imagine that after you were told there were no more ice cream sandwiches (you got the lemon popsicle instead), the kid behind you asked for an ice cream sandwich too…but he was sold one! How did that happen?! What was different?

Well this exact scenario happens with timeshare every single day.

This industry does not work on the honor system of first come, first serve – in fact, no one is equal. People own all different levels: Red season, Gold Crown, 5 Star, 2 bedrooms, low demand locations, etc…this is an unfair system where no one is treated the same. And here’s where it gets worse – you remember that kid behind you at the ice cream truck? Well he was the same “quality” as you – he just had more money.

You see, your exchange company is never working in your best interest. They love having you standing in line because you are going to buy something, but they save the “good ice cream” for the highest bidder. So how does an exchange company find a “higher bidder” if everyone pays the same exchange rate? We’ll answer this in a minute.

The exchange companies got smart a number of years ago and devised terms and conditions which encouraged you to give up your valuable week without getting inventory back immediately. This was called the Space Bank system or the Deposit and Exchange System. How they tricked Joe Consumer into this was a sales Houdini. They created a virtual swap meet where you give them your valuable week, yet you didn’t get anything immediately back. As a matter of fact, the exchange company you are dealing with says “Ok, I’ll take this and maybe – three to five months later I will give you something in exchange.”

Here’s the problem with that: if he doesn’t give you something of equal value or more desirable than the week you gave up – you can’t get your original week back. As a matter of fact, their contract reads that they can give you absolutely ANYTHING in exchange for it and you have to accept it. So right now, all across the world, people are giving up their valuable weeks or points up to the exchange company in hopes that many months later they will have something of equal or greater value at another destination. Unfortunately, this almost never happens.

Remember the question we asked earlier, ‘how does the exchange company find the highest bidder if everyone pays the same exchange fees’? Well, here is how they do it in front of your own eyes, without you even realizing what is happening:

Let’s take the information we just learned and analyze how the exchange companies were able to perfect this art of illusion. As we can all agree, the exchange companies were very smart in devising this “give me yours now and I’ll tell you what you can get for it later” scheme. The perception from your view was “I put in one week and take another one out” – kind of like the honor system.

Instead of this honor system, however, the exchange companies perfected the early deposit system. They essentially told you that if you were having problems getting the locations you wanted, you just were not depositing your week early enough. The exchange companies told you to deposit your home resort up to a year in advance, because “the earlier you give it to us, the better your shot of getting a prime time week!” This never worked out for the majority of owners, and in fact, gave the exchange companies even more leverage to profit from your deposit.

All this new “miracle method” did was give the exchange companies more time to SELL your inventory to a non-owner for MORE MONEY!

The reason why you can’t get your desired exchange week is because the exchange companies mark them up (sometimes $1,000 more than what an exchange fee is) and sell them to the highest bidder…THE TRAVEL CLUBS!

Have you heard about travel clubs? Many of them are in your local metropolitan cities, inviting people into their office or local hotel and telling you why timeshare sucks (they’re right) and why their product is so much better (possibly right). The fact is that many travel clubs out there license and use the Exchange Company Feed to get properties to sell.

What is an Exchange Company Feed? It’s a direct contract, which allows a software terminal to be linked in to the exchange companies deposited inventory database. This allows travel clubs to access all of the deposited and procured inventory for $40-100+ a night. Where do these hundreds of thousands of weeks come from? That’s right, it’s your deposited/space banked weeks that you and everyone else gave to the exchange company.

In other words, owners are giving up their weeks, those weeks are being sold to travel clubs for more money, and the owners are getting nothing in return.

For years exchange companies have encouraged (tricked) owners to give up their valuable home weeks, and for that they get a week back on the exchange. So these exchange corporations, being a company of profit, have this big pool of inventory and a fellow exchange company member can pay roughly $189 for a week or they can sell that inventory for a significant markup to a travel club.

This is usually why you can’t get “where you want” or “when you want”. These exchange companies have found a way to put their own desperate/trapped/paying customers 2nd to the next guy who is willing to pay more. You get the lemon popsicle while the travel clubs get the gourmet ice cream sandwich. This is the main reason why travel clubs have become so successful. They allow their clients to get a week through their travel club (which is really just your weeks deposited and then funneled through your exchange company to the travel club to their client base) for less than what a timeshare costs, without the limited choices a timeshare provides and for THOUSANDS LESS!

If you always loved the timeshare resorts but hated “timesharing”, than look into purchasing travel clubs. Remember, soon you will be done with timeshare payments for good. If you ever want to vacation at a timeshare – it can now be done on your terms, when you want and how you want, and at a much cheaper price. No more being held captive to what the exchange companies want you to have.

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From Victim to Vindication

Published on May 14, 2015 by in Uncategorized

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The worst part about being a victim of crime is many times the victims blame themselves. Most people try to rationalize being a victim of a dramatic crime. This is simply a defense mechanism to help downplay the feelings of betrayal and hurt. It happens to everyone who has ever been a victim of a crime. Many times they think, “I shouldn’t have left the car door unlocked overnight,” “I was so stupid to let them into my house,” “I should have bought that alarm system,” and even the “it’s my fault he got mad, he’s normally not like that.”

Why do victims blame themselves? That’s for another book, somewhere down the road. But this feeling is also what a very large percentage of new owners feel. They say things like “I’m not sure what I was thinking that day,” “they really caught us at a weak moment,” “we normally say no to things like that,” “they really talked a good game that day,” “I am not sure what we were thinking,” “we promised each other we weren’t going to buy something that day – I am not sure what happened.” And on and on and on.

Many people just chalk it up to just a bad mistake, not knowing that these seemingly friendly sales representatives have had extensive coercion training as well as subconscious and emotional trigger training. Every last word the sales rep said was on purpose, and every piece of data they gained from you was used against you. You may have trained years for your job and have become very proficient at what you do. So did they, except their profession teaches them how to disarm you – create feelings of desperation, jealousy, fear and inspiration without you ever knowing they programed those feelings in your head. We have seen the training manuals of these sales representatives and every single move is calculated.

Remember, you probably woke up the morning and specifically said to your spouse, “we are not buying anything today!” However, later that day you walked out with a timeshare. It is not that you purposefully changed your mind. It was the fact that you encountered a team of professional salesmen who have been trained in that art of thought rendering and thought patterning to “encourage” you to buy their product. Legal? Yes. Ethical? You decide.

The worst part about everything discussed in this chapter is that not only do they use unfair ways to “encourage” you to purchase – many times they commit outright fraud. Here are some common FRAUDULENT promises or actions that legal experts say you may have been a victim of.

Possible “fraud in the inducement” bullet points:

1) This offer is good for today only.

2) This is a great investment and it will appreciate in value over time.

3) This presentation is only going to be 90 minutes.

4) This is in such demand it could always be RENTED for a profit.

5) You are buying pre-construction and this can later be SOLD for a profit after the next “phase.”

6) This week/resort is in such a valuable week to the exchange companies that you can trade for “anytime, anywhere.”

7) This maintenance fee will not increase over time – or – there is a special reason why this resort should only have small incremental maintenance increases.

8) You will be attending an “update” to discuss questions (also called a policy change, owners update, etc… – Later it was actually a sales presentation).

9) This is not timeshare but Vacation Ownership or Vacation Property.

10) Were you subjected to high pressure sales tactics or felt that you could not leave the presentation without purchasing?

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How did the Timeshare industry start?

Published on May 14, 2015 by in Uncategorized

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We asked our “editorial screeners” if it was ok to start our book with a question about cake since it seemingly had nothing to do with timeshare – they said “No.” We forgot to listen. So why do we care so much about delicious gourmet cake? Is it because we find counting calories is about as depressing as uncovering why we were all scammed by this industry? No, not really. It’s just the truth on how this industry in America started (and we like cake too).

It has been passed down through the years that this industry was created far, far away in the French Alps. While America was having “an awakening” in the early 60’s – one man was struggling to sell year round accommodations at his Alpine ski resort. He was finding that people were a tad too intuitive to pay the money he was asking for, since they’d only be using the accommodations a small part of the year. The people he was selling to used words like “too expensive” and “go jump in a lake.” Well it really wasn’t feasible to jump in the lake at the ski resort due to frigid conditions, and it wasn’t appealing to lower his prices because that would obviously cut into his extreme profits.

While pondering his dilemma at the local coffee shop at the foot of the mountain, he noticed something bewildering. This coffee shop offered some of the most expensive and overpriced gourmet cake in the entire town, yet people bought it. As a matter of fact, the same people who turned down his year round condominium purchases would come down the mountain to the coffee shop to have a slice of their cake. He could only assume that his clients got hungry after spending 90 minutes telling his sales representatives “Are you kidding me? That’s way too expensive.” So why were these same people who just said “no” to year round condominium purchases gladly overpaying for their “gourmet” cake?

The developer had a keen eye on what was happening. He noticed that rarely would someone buy the cake as a whole. However, since it was also offered by the slice – people were willing to pay more to only get a piece that they felt they could eat in one sitting, even if it was wildly more expensive per slice than buying the cake as a whole.

This is where the idea was born. And using the same concept as the local coffee shop selling gourmet cake, these companies started making extreme profits selling “slices” of property.

Unfortunately, the amount of money a timeshare sales representative can make in a day coupled with the amount of money a manager and director can make almost certainly leads to an environment where the truth is greatly exaggerated because greed takes over. More often than not, the sales representative you shook hands with the day was encouraged to stretch the truth. All this was allowed so the resort developers could pursue rock star riches.

Let’s do the math of a typical resort:

Typical Resort

Individual Condo Units Per Resort: 500 units

Weeks For Sale Per Unit: 52 weeks

500 * 52 = 26,000 Weeks For Sale total

Average sales price per week: $12,900

26,000 * $12,900= $335,400,000  total developer receipts.

All this money before the resort even collects a dime in finance interest rates, late fees, and maintenance fees.

So what does this mean to you? Well, take a moment and ask yourself – does that resort you just bought into seem like a 335 million dollar resort? How about even a 100 million dollar resort?  Chances are, not even close.

Now think about all the interest charges they make (the average rate is an additional 15% on top of all the above costs).

And don’t forge to take that 26,000 weeks and times it by the average maintenance fee and then you have another 20 million in annual inbound revenue to just maintain the resort.  Does your resort seem like they spend $20 Million dollars a year to keep your unit nice and clean? Not even close.

Some say the two most lucrative businesses in America are running a credit card company and owning a timeshare resort. From millions to billions…and all from people just like me and you.  In short, this is why timeshares are EXTREMELY overpriced, and these companies make EXTREME profits.

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