There are two different experiences that consumers have with timeshare representatives. The first, is a friendly and attractive sales representative, who is enthusiastic about the resort, the area and how much entertainment value your family is going to enjoy, after you buy your timeshare. This is the pre-sale persona that solicits trust, with a friendly smile, free food and coffee and a level of respect and care that you may (or may not) see again, after the purchase of your timeshare.
The second persona of a timeshare sales representative, appears when the consumer has a complaint. Often timeshare buyers have regret and use the brief rescindment period to cancel the contract and receive a full-refund. But if the rescindment period has elapsed, the buyer may try to go back to the sales presentation office, and be responded to in one of three ways:
You may be notified that the sales representative no longer works for the resort.
You may be told that all complaints must be addressed directly with the timeshare, and not with the sales representative team.
You may be declined a meeting and told to talk to a lawyer who specializes in contract disputes.
So many of our clients who were able to access their original timeshare sales person, are shocked to see the difference in the pre-sale and post-contract persona. It is then that they feel betrayed by an industry that relies on the friendly sales approach, to help consumers forget about the questions that they should be asking. And sometimes, informed consumers DO ask the right questions, and the representatives are trained to gloss over the details and distract them from further inquiry.
Many consumers grow to realize, that timeshare sales are a very impersonal ‘hit and run’ business model. We share three reasons why the timeshare sales representative is not your friend, and likely did not have your best interests at heart in the sales process.
Motivated by Sales Not Customer Satisfaction
We are all conditioned to have a reasonable expectation of service and satisfaction, when we choose to spend money with any organization. To fault, consumers also tend to trust the individual who is selling them something that comes with a legal contract. It’s hard to imagine that a timeshare sales representative, for a large and established resort, would be dishonest.
And yet, all you must do is review pages of complaints from current and previous timeshare owners online, to see that the sales process is not closely monitored. American contract laws dictate how an organization or sales person must conduct themselves, but the industry isn’t policed before the problem occurs. Consumer protection regulators typically get involved after there have been several complaints, and then the business is legally investigated.
What is hardest to understand is how timeshares continue to be sold, and how the industry posts earnings in the billions of dollars annually, with thousands of angry timeshare owners who feel they were defrauded. Each legal timeshare contract can be enforced by the timeshare company and carries the same financial and legal ramifications that a traditional mortgage agreement has.
Once you sign, they have you, and in our client feedback and personal experience, they are not concerned whether you enjoy your timeshare, or whether you can afford to own one without financial difficulty. That’s because their revenue stream is based on new developer sales (with large front-end investments by owners), maintenance and assessment fees, penalties and late charges, and on-resort revenues from sales of products and services.
Each timeshare representative isn’t particularly concerned whether you buy from them again. They are ready for the next sale, and prepared to do whatever they need to do, to get their quota.
Sales Representatives May Not Be Local Residents
One of the interesting things about working within the timeshare industry, was learning how many people use timeshare sales jobs at a transitional role. When you consider that most timeshares are in exotic and luxury destinations, the role attracts many people who are self-professed digital nomads. They work online, while traveling the world, and take temporary jobs to finance their travel.
Timeshare companies hire them because they are affordable labor, and often are not looking for a long-term career role (which suits the churn and burn methodology that most timeshare sales offices use to constantly train, use and then release sales representatives that do not meet the benchmarks established by management).
Why does this matter? When you are a local resident, you care about your reputation and your work history. After all, your family and friends live in the same community, and future job opportunities depend on creating a professional reputation. But as you can imagine, many sales representatives are willing to do or say just about anything, to get tourists to sign a timeshare contract. That leads to a lot of complaints against the organization, and the individual.
But that doesn’t matter if you are just working for up to six months in one location, before moving on to another resort location, as a temporary contracted sales representative. This is another reason why it is difficult to track fraudulent sales and investigate them.
They Earn Less Than You Think They Do
The timeshare industry is a direct sales model, that loves to venerate some of their leading sales executives. The individuals who make a successful career as a timeshare sales professional, become comfortable with the idea of separating themselves from ethics and morality.
To the seasoned timeshare sales person, you should have read the contract. Period. They disregard feelings and concerns with an attitude of ‘caveat emptor’ or ‘buyer beware’.
A survey on Glassdoor reports that only timeshare sales managers and supervisors earn what most would call a living professional wage. The majority of workers earn less than $10.00 per hour. Some businesses like Wyndham offer health benefits, and all resorts offer perks and benefits, like free excursions, free meals and other incentives.
While we cannot speak unilaterally for every timeshare sales representative out there (we have met some conscientious and customer focused sales professionals too), this bait and switch methodology is part of the growing rancor between timeshare owners and vacation clubs and resorts. Consumers expect resorts to be accountable for the behavior and conduct of their sales teams, and their response? That they are typically not salaried employees, and unsupervised directly by the resort.