A typical scene in several hotels in the main tourist destinations around the world is to see a group of people approaching tourists for an incredibly friendly chat.
This practice is known as OPC (Outside Public Contact) and is responsible for engaging or convincing tourists, most of the time through a free tour, meal, or even extra complimentary nights at the hotel they’re staying, to attend a presentation.
But the said presentation is really a show set up to manipulate tourists into buying a timeshare.
The problem arises when an unaware tourist proceeds with buying a timeshare without having all the information at hand.
This usually happens because he or she is carried away by the wonders told in the presentation, the impressive photos of the destination and that happy family enjoying a magical holiday. All that coupled with fantastic promises from a seller looking for a juicy commission…
Does a timeshare suit you?
Usually, a big portion of dissatisfied timeshare owners, upon signing the dotted line in the purchase contract don’t have a proper understanding of the contract in question.
For example, people who did not consider cancellation policies, refunds, bonuses and even the season of the year in which they could make use of their timeshare.
Therefore, before choosing or buying a timeshare consider the following:
Can you ensure your solvency and economic stability so you can travel and use your timeshare for at least the next 15 years?
The cheapest timeshare ranges around $13,000 and a maintenance fee of $500 on average. Timeshare contracts today are between 10, 15 or 30 years maximum. There are very few timeshares that last 99 years.
The high cost of maintenance usually is one of the main reasons why timeshare owners want out of their contracts.
That is why it is important that before buying a timeshare you fully understand all the economic responsibilities involved in owning it.
Are you a parent?
A timeshare is ideal for a family of 4 people – dad, mom, and two children, since generally when they grow up they follow their own path. It’s also important to consider that you may need more freedom to decide what to do with your money when you are of a certain age.
Are you a constant traveler to the same destination or hotel chain?
Having a timeshare will tie you up to limited holiday destinations, meaning that your future vacations will either have to be in the same destination or, in the best-case scenario, your destination choice will have some flexibility, provided you own a timeshare in a resort chain.
So, if you are a traveler who likes to go to different places every now and then, there will come a time when you may want to get rid of your timeshare due to the lack of options.
If you are about to go to a timeshare presentation, remember that you are going to deal with professional sellers.
They will try to convince you at all costs to sign the contract on the spot. They will promise you the moon and the stars, and extras that are probably not even listed in the numerous clauses in the timeshare contract.
That said, enjoy the breakfast, or lunch, or whatever it is that they are offering, be amiable but if you are not really interested, thank them and tell them that you are not interested.
On the contrary, if you tell them you are going to think about it, then they will insist every time they see you around the hotel. They will constantly apply more and more pressure to try and push you into buying their timeshare.
Under any circumstances give them your credit card details, address, personal information, email accounts or social networks.
If it’s required that you provide some personal information, give them as little as possible to avoid further harassment.
And if you decide to buy their timeshare, thoroughly check the contract you are going to sign. Even the tiny little letters on the bottom.
And if you end up signing the contract, it’s likely that they will say that you can cancel it at any time. But that’s not true.
Most contracts can only be canceled if you make a claim within the first 5 business days after you signed. Otherwise, the amount due for the timeshare you signed up for will be charged to your credit card, and there is no money back after that.
Take special care with clauses that indicate giving up your right of cancellation.
You can notify your cancellation by email and certified mail (within 5 business days, usually).
And never sign contracts in languages that you don’t understand!
Finally, do you want to cancel your timeshare contract and they tell you that you can’t?
If you do it within the cancellation period stipulated by law, the developer has the obligation to reimburse you for what you have paid, without penalties.