This Subway Shop In Virginia Promotes Timeshares

Tim thought he was entering an innocent giveaway at his local Subway in Warrenton, Virginia earlier this month. Nope. It was just timeshare bait. We wish the Subway would have known better than to allow the dropbox in their store to begin with, but after reading Tim’s story you’ll know what to watch out for should you run into a similar contest.

I went to a Subway restaurant in Warrenton, VA for lunch on 6/2/09, which I do a day or two per week. On this particular day, there was quite a line, so while waiting I noticed this “Vacation Giveaway” kiosk by the entrance. So, since I was already standing there, what’s the hurt of entering. I would soon find out.

The evening of 6/10/09 I received (3) phone calls from a number I did not recognize (757-821-0166), so I didn’t answer. Well the last call the guy actually left a voicemail. The message went to say that where I had entered the contest at Subway, they had a $125.00 Visa gift card and they were trying to contact me to collect. I thought to myself, what dumb luck that because of a line at Subway, I actually won something.

I called back the next day and was told that I had to speak with the gentleman that contacted me, and he comes in a 5pm. So a little after 5pm I called to collect my gift. While speaking with Fred, he informs me that not only did I win a $125.00 Visa gift card, but I also won a $25 Subway gift card and trip to Orlando Florida for 3 days and 2 nights. This is when I got suspicious. It sounded to good to be true, so I asked, “What’s the catch?”

Fred then told me that all I had to do was spend 90 minutes of my time “getting acquainted” with the resort (aka timeshare sales pitch). He then informed me that in order to get the items I had “won” I needed to authorize them to deduct a $75.00 reservation fee, which would be returned once I was at the resort. I read your blog daily, so immediately “SCAM” jumped into my head. So I told Fred that I needed to think about it, and spent the next bit of time looking up his information on the internet—which was filled with horror stories.

When Fred called back, I told him I was not interested, which I had to tell him at least 10 times before he would give up. He has since proceeded to call me 4-7 times per night between the hours of 5pm and 11pm trying to get me to reconsider. This is totally unacceptable. I am not sure if this company was sold my information, or stole the information. But regardless, beware.

(Photo: Aidan Wojtas)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Sheila Cook says:

    Sounds like he is as relentless as those Mary Kay ladies and their “makeover” fish bowl giveaways.

  2. post_break says:

    Well since you posted his phone number we could take care of this internet style right?

    • Ragman says:

      @post_break: Maybe if HIS number got dropped in those boxes all across the US…

      • Rav Gar says:

        @Ragman: i would sign him into those free trips on the internet with the phone number and email, then id sign him up to the nastiest porn newsletters and blogs i could find, THEN i would sign him up to those PHONE company promotions that actually cost you 15 bucks a piece that only require a phone number and name. Then id consider my self barely even

  3. Galactica says:

    The time shares pitches are the worst. But I survived one. I had a similar deal of prizes thrust upon me. So, my wife and I went to the pitch, took the tour, all that good stuff.

    Then the VERY HARD sales pitch. We were steadfast in our refusals (no way we could afford it). About the 10th time we said no, the sales guy got incredibly rude – how dare someone say no to a time share sales pitch!

    Well, we got our prizes. I’d do it again…

    • econobiker says:

      @Galactica: My ex and I even had the “close out survey” presented to us which would have signed us up for one. We were supposed to finish the survey to get our free stuff vouchers.

      I looked at her and said ” Look if we fully complete this survey they still sign us up for a timeshare.” We laughed and made big X’s across the sales contract portion of the “survey”.

    • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

      @Galactica: What did you “win”?

    • Nogard13 says:

      @Galactica: My in-laws do this all the time. They go to these sales pitches, ignore them, and collect their free gifts. They’ve become experts at scamming the time share people. I should ask them how they do it and follow their lead.

      • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:


        First, I think it’s a big no-no to promote the idea of customers pulling a “scam” on companies here.

        But in this case, I don’t think scame is the appropriate word. I think it’s “getting what you are offered”.

        They offer you free items if you sit through a high pressure sales environment. Both parties completed the deal!

        • GMFish says:

          @AlteredBeast:”I don’t think scame is the appropriate word.

          Agreed, only because “scame” isn’t a real word.

          However, this was a real scam because the contest did not exit. When you claim that there is a contest, where none exist. That someone won a contest, who did not win a contest. And when you use the aforementioned contest as a guise to sell your product, you are committing a scam.

          If timeshares are so popular, simply have a “sign-up to learn about time-shares” kiosk. Then people can freely and knowledgeably sign-up, without being scammed.

          • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

            @GMFish: I didn’t mean what the company is doing is a scam. I meant that consumers going to these events w/ no intention of buying a timeshare (just for the “prizes”) is not a scam.

            A consumer who goes to one of these events, sits through the whole thing, doesn’t get a time share, and gets the “prizes” didn’t pull a scam on the company.

      • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

        @Nogard13: My ex and I actually did buy a timeshare (Hilton) but we’ve been happy with it and actually do use it. The laughter comes in though, when I tell the story of scamming their sales people.

        They gave us a 3-day/2-night Vegas vacation at the Flamingo. By the time we were done with their sales guy and the manager, we had all the free food we could eat, free money for the casino (in chips), two round trip tickets on United anywhere in the U.S., a free 7-night stay in any U.S. Hilton, tickets to the Rockettes, and free cab rides in Vegas. Did I mention my ex was a jerk? And a stubborn jerk, at that?

        If you hold out, you can get the goodies but you gotta have an iron stomach to pull it off.

        • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

          @LadySiren: Wow, that’s pretty awesome. If I were a shrewder negotiator, I’d try the same tactic. Also, I can’t afford a time-share, so that puts a bit of a kink in the plan…

      • aka Cat says:

        @Nogard13: There’s no trick to it, really. You just memorize the word “no”, and prepare yourself to repeat it 5000x over a 45 minute period.

        My ex used to drag me to these all the time. It was boring, but we got some decent stuff out of it. Twenty years later, I’m still using part of the 3 piece luggage set.

    • orielbean says:

      @Galactica: at some point I begin to question what level of annoyance the prizes are worth versus spending that same time donating help to charity, building a bookcase, or some other constructive activity? Well maybe if they gave me a Snuggie…

    • Bgeezy says:

      @Galactica: I’ve done two of these with my now exwife before our divorce. She would get me into them to get the free stuff then she would really almost fall for it and sign us up. Then I’d come off being the giant ass. Except once a woman right in front of me asked my wife if she was still interested after I said no. I called her a bitch and left. My wife went back in and redeemed the free stuff without signing up for anything.
      It was mainly like gift cards and hotel stays.

    • jimconsumer says:

      @Galactica: I wouldn’t. What a scam. I got suckered into “winning” $250 in free gas last year. When I went to claim my prize, guess what, time share sales pitch. So I sat through 2 hours of this BS because I had nothing better to do that night and, hey, free $250 in gas.

      Nope. If you don’t take their “free” 3 day vacation, you don’t get the $250 in gas. And the “free” vacation? It wasn’t really free. They’d charge $250 to your credit card and when you actually got to the “resort”, then you’d supposedly get your $250 back.

      As they had already become very rude with me – for not plunking down $70,000 on the spot for their stupid worthless time share after being TRICKED into coming – I made a scene. Dropped the F bomb a few times, called some names, stormed out of there. Hey, it made me feel better, and fuck those people. After what they put me through, my feeling better at their expense is all that mattered.

  4. youbastid says:

    These are pretty standard. Just read the fine print. You should always read the fine print of any contest you enter, more often than not you are signing away your right to be contacted regardless of your status on the Do Not Call list.

    • Charlotte Rae's Web says:

      @youbastid: yup, between those and ‘free gym membership’, they’ve been around forever.

    • NYGal81 says:

      @youbastid: Yep…it only took me one time of *almost* dropping an entry into the box to “WIN THIS SHINY NEW BMW OR $50,000 CASH!!!!” I’m forever grateful that I read the fine print, since we get enough scammy telemarketers and collections people calling our place multiple times a day as it is. I don’t need to help them out by signing away my rights.

      • TouchMyMonkey says:

        @NYGal81: If you really want to be an asshole, you can put other people’s information on the entry forms. Make somebody’s day.

        • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

          @HurtsSoGood: I used to do that to kids I hated in middle school, except with magazine subscription cards that allowed for delayed billing. I was an ass back then, too.

          • chauncy that billups says:

            @RecordStoreToughGuy: Damn, I WISH I had thought of that…would have sent a penthouse and hustler subscription to the asshole pastor’s son that made my life hell in middle school.

  5. Saboth says:

    My wife got me to do a timeshare thing on our vacation to the beach last year. We got about a $100 dinner out of it (medieval times or something). She said we would be in and out in about an hour and a half. Needless to say, we had to get up early to be there…waited about 20 minutes for it to start, spent about 1.5 hours with the presentation, then about 2 hours being grilled repeatedly by different salesmen. It ran from 9 am to 12:30 all said and done. We were basically held hostage until we wasted so much time of the salesmen, they just gave up. Honestly, I’d rather of paid for the $100 dinner than have 1/2 of a a vacation day at the beach wasted and me end up all stressed out.

    • ekthesy says:


      What in blue blazes could they possibly ask you for two hours after you tell them “I’m not interested” in the first two minutes? Aren’t you permitted to just walk away?

      • Saboth says:


        No, you had to wait until one of them gave you some kind of voucher to be redeemed at the “prizes” counter. I think we went through about 3 salesmen, each one presenting a different pitch, and each one taking about 35-40 minutes. “Ok, what if I said I could get you this many points, at this price?” “Hmm, looks nice and all, but we can’t afford that.” “Ok, let me go find another deal.” He leaves and comes back 10 minutes later. This was repeated probably 3-4 times. We could have left at any time, but until someone gave us a voucher, we would have spend 2 hours and got nothing out of it.

        • yasth says:

          @Saboth: The effective way of dealing with it is just to pull up a timeshare sales site on your cell phone. A loud whisper of what people are trying to unload the property for shuts them down quick.

      • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

        @ekthesy: You sit with the first sales guy, then when you turn them down, they introduce you to the sales “manager”. If you turn him down, they trot out the top sales dude (usually with some inflated title) and dangle ever-increasing large prizes to tempt you with. It can easily take two hours or more to go through this entire process. Obviously, they can’t stop you from walking away but most people don’t want to seem rude and they do want their “free” prizes.

        When the ex and I bought our timeshare from Hilton (see above), it took us a good five hours or so before we jetted on outta there. On the upside, we got a ton of stuff and a timeshare that we actually do use.

        • Saboth says:


          Did the last salesman offer you a timeshare from his “personal stock” that isn’t available anymore, but he was saving for a special occation?

          • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

            @Saboth: Nope; this was a brand new property but they didn’t even try to bring out the older stock from other Hilton properties. I think they were too shell-shocked from dealing with my husband. I think he gave the last guy a permanent nervous tic.

    • tinmanx says:

      @Saboth: I’ve only been to one timeshare pitch, I was tricked into it with some discounts, but after I found out what it was I was very interested in how this whole timeshare thing works. That 30 min pitch turned into 3 hours, and the guy got very rude after I declined saying I would never be invited back.

      All I have to say was it was very educational, I had no intention of buying anything, but I wanted to learn more about how it works. I guess all the questions made him think I was interested. After the pitch, I’ve concluded that timeshares are not a good deal. Especially with that “processing fee” you gotta pay when you want to use the time share.

      This sales guy even pulled the sympathy card showing me a photo of his family with their adopted kids.

  6. econobiker says:

    Those little drop boxes have been around for years for time shares.

    You spend more money getting there if it far away. If you ever get into one of the “sales” presentations it is surreal- you’re surrounded by 50 other people listening to the exact same loud pitch over a table the size of a bar stool.

    My ex-wife and I did hook up with one about 3 hours away from where we lived. We did this only because she got a “recommendation” from an actual owner of one of the time shares so we received the “gold package” of crappy hotel room stay,free breakfasts, and $50 in credit at the company owned strip mall. Funny thing was that the ex-wife was 8 months pregnant with #1 child and the sales lady tried to tire the ex out by walking the property. It didn’t work as it just p-o’ed the ex.

  7. Segador says:

    Anyone know what “attending” means when referring to the 90-minute sales pitch? Do you have to pay attention or your name gets written on the board? If “sitting in a chair” is all that’s required, sign me up. I could get through 3 tournament events on Tiger Woods 08 on my PSP in 90 minutes.

    • Lance Uppercut says:

      @Segador: The last one I attended it was one-on-one with a salesman. And if you were married your spouse had to come with you or you didn’t get your reward.

      It lasted about an hour and we got a $50 restaurant gift card out of it.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @Cletus: What if you never mentioned a spouse? How would they know if you showed up and happened to have your wedding ring in your pocket?

        • dragonfire81 says:

          @pecan 3.14159265: Usually the one on one thing is a tactic to prevent you from ignoring the pitch. I don’t think they’d sit idly by while you play your PSP for an hour and half.

    • El_Fez says:

      @Segador: I did that once – me and my mom – ages and ages ago. We went to one of the 1,000 trails (I think) presentations, and when the Welcome guy said if we were interested in buying, we both said “No, we’re just here for the free stuff”, sat in the chair for an hour and a half doing our own thing and got our swag. Man-o-man did it piss off the salesman, but we still got the swag. I guess he didnt want to raise a big stink or anything.

      • craptastico says:

        @El_Fez: probably not a bad idea. by identifying yourself as someone only looking for free stuff immediately the sales people may have focused their attention on someone they thought had a better chance of buying.

    • Saboth says:


      I’m not sure how they would take that. I think if they feel you are just sitting there, you won’t get your little voucher thing. You have a salesman at your desk kind of prodding you through the slideshows and making jokes and all. Kind of like if you went to buy a car and sat there pretending you wanted it, and after 2 hours, the salesman figured out you were just stringing him along, and he might have lost out on that nice sale that was made to the other couple that came in to actually buy a car.

      • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

        @Saboth: I dunno. Most car dealerships don’t offer you free stuff just to walk through the door, unless they’re running a special promotion. I’ve gone to dealerships that had free hotdogs and burgers just to get the free food and do a little window shopping. But mostly you go there because you want or need a car. Timeshares seem to know they need bait to get people there, and offer swag as part of their business models. I figure, if they offer the free stuff with no obligation to buy, then there’s nothing wrong with taking them up on the offer.

      • menty666 says:

        @Saboth: I actually did that to a car salesman once, though not maliciously on purpose. I was out hunting for a replacement to my sportage and was about to buy a used pontiac aztec. The sales guy was actually off at the printer pumping out the paperwork and my wife, god bless her, turns to me and said,’you know, for the same monthly payment, you can get that Tuscon you wanted, be happy with it and not have to get used to a bar across your field of vision in the back’. I agreed she was right and when the guy came back we told him we had changed our minds. He thought we were just playing hardball and tried to offer more points off the interest rate, etc. Seriously ruined his day, but I felt oddly happy about it.

    • FatLynn says:

      @Segador: They actually walk you around, show you the property, things like that. They spent a lot of time talking to us about our family so they could then sell it as making memories and stuff like that.

  8. chucklebuck says:

    I am not sure if this company was sold my information, or stole the information.

    Actually, I think you just gave it to them.

    • outoftheblew says:

      @chucklebuck: LOL, I didn’t notice that last line. OP is a little naive, I think. I don’t say that maliciously.

      My mom sat through a time-share kind of presentation once to get me a stereo when I was little (we were poor). And when on vacation in Mexico, we sat through one so that we could get a much-reduced price on a tour package we wanted.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @outoftheblew: I’m not saying it maliciously, either, and I’m glad his mind did send up red flags – eventually. I wouldn’t have put my name into any of these drawings to begin with, and certainly wouldn’t have thought “what are the odds? I’m lucky!” when I got that first set of phone calls.

    • craptastico says:

      @chucklebuck: that was my first thought when i finished reading the post.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I bought a timeshare a few years back as a result of one of these type presentations – I had been looking to buy one, so it wasn’t a surprise. When I went back the next year, they offered me the same deal – free breakfast for the family, free tickets to a local attraction, etc.. I signed up, got the free meal and as soon as it was over the sales guy asked if I wanted to buy a second week, I said “no” and then we chatted for about 20 minutes showing each other pictures of our family pets and there was zero pressure to talk sales.

    Since then, any time someone tries to sell me a timeshare, I tell them “I already own one, I love it, and I don’t need another, thanks”, and that stops them right away. I assume that line will work whether or not you actually own a timeshare or not.

  10. friendlynerd says:

    I like to use Tyra Banks when someone needs a little phone harassment: []

  11. Anonymous says:

    A few years back I worked for a call center contacting people in the same position. In our case we called people who filled out vacation ballots and door prize ballots from trade and consumer shows.

    Essentially any time you’re filling these out to win something, you’re handing all your contact info and giving permission for the marketing company to call you. Check the back of the ballots your filling out and you should see the fine print specifying you’re releasing your contact info to the company to contact you with their promotions.

    Even if there is a legitimate door prize on offer for these ballots, after the prize has been awarded the ballots are packed up and shipped off to the call center to get to work in signing people up for these time share vacations which is where the real bread and butter is for the company.

  12. themrdee says:

    My Mom and Dad, in their eighties did a weekend thing at a resort once. They explained that they were retired and lived off social security and would not be able to get the financing. The sales people knew it was useless to try a sales so they said thanks and gave the voucher. Dad says it’s nice that credit reports don’t show assets because that sales force would still be after them to sign.

  13. RudeandRude says:

    I’ve done these things. They aren’t really a “scam”, they are just annoying. If you’re willing to pay $75 for a 5 day vacation, and give up 2 hours of your time for it, then it’s not bad.

    They will seriously haunt you while you’re there though. They purposely put you near the sales office so that each time you come out they can pitch you.

    Still worth it, though. I’ve stayed in Vegas and the Cape Cod area for almost nothing

    • GMFish says:

      @RudeandRude: “They aren’t really a “scam”

      No, this was a real real scam, because the contest did not exit. When you claim that there is a contest, where none exists. That someone won a contest, who did not win a contest. And when you use the aforementioned contest and win as a guise to sell your product, you are committing a scam.

      If timeshares are so popular, simply have a “sign-up to learn about time-shares” kiosk. Then people can freely and knowledgeably sign-up, without being scammed.

      • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

        @GMFish: Well, technically he did win something, but likely so did everyone else who entered…

  14. vastrightwing says:

    The reason they will spend hours after you say no is because they’ve learned that most people will relent and pay up just to end the headache. Then the salesperson has made his quota. I’m sure it’s worth quite a lot of money for them.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @vastrightwing: Seriously? People give up their money just so they can stop answering the phone? Why don’t they know, stop answering the phone when a weird number comes up? Or save the original number and mark it “do not answer” or “mf’er who won’t stop calling”?

    • Corporate_guy says:

      @vastrightwing: My guess is they are paid on commission. So they probably get nothing if you don’t buy.

      • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

        @Corporate_guy: Well, yeah, but it’s not like they waterboard you into signing a contract.

        • Corporate_guy says:

          @RecordStoreToughGuy: The point is that is why they are upset you didn’t buy anything after 4 hours of their pitch. But technically it’s their own damn fault for attracting anyone to sit there for a free gift even if they don’t want to buy.

    • econobiker says:

      @vastrightwing: As I commented in another response, they keep selling even through to the “exit survery” to get your free stuff having a sales contract on it.

  15. theblackdog says:

    Usually if someone tries to pressure me into filling out one of these, my phone number becomes a Rejection Hotline number


  16. Nicholas Todor says:

    I remember my freshman year of college, our dorm rooms each had a “coupon” for a free Subway sub about a half-mile down the road.

    A few days later, we found out that in order to get the free sub, you had to sign up for a Discover card.

  17. temporaryerror says:

    I’m surprised that no one has mentioned the “free trip to Aspen” episode of Southpark… Where even the police can’t believe that you want to pass up on this GREAT deal.

  18. syncpulse says:

    yeah i had a similar experience when i stupidly put my name in for a draw to win $25000 or a 2 year lease on a new Hummer (for the record i wanted the money). I was called a few days later telling me i had won a trip and was short listed for the draw for the money.(a quick google search turned up the company as some sort of timeshare pyramid combo scam) After declining to proceed any further it thought that was the end of it. But apparently i am a very lucky man because every year or so i get a call from the same company telling me that i have won again. WOW 3 wins off of the same ballet. I had to get pretty forceful to get my name take out of their system. and i am still expecting another call. Needless to say I have learned my lesson.

  19. JiminyChristmas says:

    I will add my anecdotal experience that time shares are some of the most relentless sales pitches you will ever encounter. My S.O.’s parents actually own a time share and once gifted us a week to use where we could. When we checked in at the resort the clerk was very insistent on signing us up for a ‘seminar’ even though we made it very clear we were just guests of the actual owners.

    I think the enticement they were offering was a $50 gas card and a $50 voucher good at a couple of local restaurants, which looked lame. We knew perfectly well that we can’t afford and don’t want to purchase our own time share. We also didn’t feel that scheduling one of our vacation days around a 2-hour high pressure sales pitch was worth $100 to us.

    Nonetheless, we had to tell the clerk ‘no’ five different ways. He wouldn’t really acknowledge a polite rejection, so we basically had to get rude/angry so he would STFU and give us our keys. He was quite insolent about the whole thing. I almost felt bad about it because I’m sure the guy is under intense pressure to sign people up for this stuff but he was such a prick about it.

    Oh, and his last mistake was handing my girlfriend a form with a space for ‘comments about your stay.’ Hoo boy.

    • Susan Cactuswren says:

      @JiminyChristmas: I never found out how my mother got on the list for one of these, but since I was living with her I went with her. If she was willing to sit through a “two-hour presentation”, the card said, she would get a free portable television.

      The “two-hour presentation” — for Thousand Trails timeshare camping — was four hours away by road, and actually lasted for at least five hours of hard sell from a salesman who seemed unable even to hear the words “I do not have that kind of money”. And at the end, she was awarded an off-brand five-inch black-and-white television that could run off wall current, DC (car) current, or (proprietary) batteries.

      Along with it was included an order form to BUY the wall-current cord (not included), the DC cord (not included), or the batteries (not included).

  20. donjumpsuit says:

    I am sure I don’t have to put it in print here, but “There’s no such thing as a “free lunch””

  21. Lance Uppercut says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: I don’t know how they would enforce that rule. Since we were on vacation at the time they would probably think it was odd if I was alone.

    The worst part was that since we were both there we had to bring our toddler daughter with us and she doesn’t sit still under normal circumstances, let alone a sales pitch. And the salesman didn’t know how to interact with kids at all.

    Like others have said, if I could do it over again I would have just paid for dinner and spent that extra time on the beach.

  22. gparlett says:

    My Dad and Mom sat through a timeshare sales pitch to get a free 9 inch television once (this was a long time ago and it was actually worth something). At the end Dad realized that no one had given him his TV yet and he didn’t want to sit through a one on one sales pitch so he just grabbed the floor model TV they had sitting out and left… about two weeks later their TV showed up in the mail. :-)

  23. halcyondays says:

    My wife and I sat through a timeshare presentation in Vegas to get $100 worth of chips or some such nonsense–never again! It was supposed to be an hour and a half, it ended up being more like four hours. We were harangued by the sales lady, and when she couldn’t close the deal, by the sales manager. He was as slippery as a snake and had a gold ring on every finger. The experience was awful, but I am now totally immune to the temptation to enter contests or to visit timeshares for “free gifts.”

    • Oddfool says:

      @halcyondays: Same thing with me and my wife. We had purchased a timeshare a few years ago, and shortly afterward, we were in Vegas and got “ambushed” by one of the timeshare companies there. Having gotten into our timeshare purchase a different way, we were unaware the presentation tour we were offered was for a timeshare. Oh the salesman was nice about it when he found out we were not told it was for timeshares, and that we had recently purchased elsewhere. He still offered us the tour, politely explaining the differences between ours and theirs.

      At the end, after 3 hours of reminding that we were not purchasing, and running the gauntlet of representatives, he was so upset (pissed off) that we just did not see how much better theirs was, expecting us to switch over.

  24. Outrun1986 says:

    I don’t think I need to say this here but if you win a contest you should NEVER have to pay for the prize you are given. This is one of the tell tale signs of a timeshare or cruise scam. They always say something like “if you pay 75$ then you can win this cruise that is worth 600$”.

    Vacation Giveaway or Cruise giveaway contest boxes are usually scams. I see these at the local county fair all the time along with the usual bombardment of Direct Buy ads. If its to the point where the salesmen are in the aisles of the building again practically grabbing people and the ads are literately plastered everywhere I am taking photos and sending them to the consumerist. Honestly I go to the county fair to escape this stuff, not to become bombarded by it.

    You should NEVER put your name in contest box you see at a county fair or other event like a concert or car race. Chances are its a scam contest.

  25. Nytmare says:

    I’ve learned that contest entries are hooks for something less than trustworthy, so if I’m bored I’ll fill them out with information that’s as honest as their come-on.

  26. pop top says:

    Ugh. When I was in Vegas last year, they had people all over the Strip peddling the new timeshares and condos they’re building right next to the big hotels. It was so annoying because my husband and I would try and have a fun night out and these people were everywhere. They would follow you down the street and yell at you if you ignored them.

    Some of the hotels even had their own personal hawkers out in front, selling discounted tickets to the hotel’s shows, or “free drinks for two when you buy an expensive dinner in one of our restaurants” deals.

    • drjayphd says:

      @squinko – doesn’t need firefighters: Oh, we kept getting targeted by those people while we were there for a friend’s wedding and our own vacation. (“We” = myself and a friend.) We’d agreed to go to one if only for tickets to a Criss Angel show (eh, nothing was planned for that day anyways), but they stopped when the peddlers realized that we weren’t only not married, but not even a couple. Oops.

  27. krom says:

    Um, those things are literally all over the place. The post (and the headline) unfairly singles out Subway.

  28. drmk says:

    My ex and I used to do this to get free tickets to Disney. (We were grad students at the time, and his family lived in the area, so we did this when we’d go visit them.) We’d plan an extra day into the vacation and go to a couple of places offering free tickets, and just call that a wasted day, but we’d get tickets for theme parks for the next three or four days out of it.

    It was high-pressure sales tactics, but when you have no intention (and no ability) to buy anything, it’s easy to ignore the pressure.

    We did have one guy who looked at us and said, “You’re just here for the tickets, aren’t you?” We said yes, and he gave us the voucher and sent us on our way. That was nice.

  29. NoDavidOnlyZuul says:

    I remember in 2001 my family and i went to Disney World. we stayed off site at the embassy suites and my parents decided to go to a presentation. of course we had to go with (3 kids), but we were only there from 9:00 to 11:00. i hated it because it took time away from Mickey! The rooms were nice, but my parents had no intention of buying a timeshare. It was fun watching my mom stare down the salesman after saying that they weren’t interested. we got $200 for sitting through the sell which was then used for a nice dinner at the steak house in the Canada pavilion in Epcot. I loved the pretzel breadsticks.
    I would never do one, just because it’s a waste of everyone’s time. i would rather earn and spend said monetary gift just so i can enjoy it more. i liked staying on property at the Pop Century last year because i didn’t have to deal with any of the timeshare people.

  30. sharkzfanz says:

    I have actually done this before.. They are not a scam but you have to be careful not to sign anything. You will get the trip they offered and it has many restrictions but if you can meet everything you do get your money’s worth.. Dont go out of your way but if your not spending the 90 minutes doing anything else and are a strong person who can say no there sort of fun. Just do your research and make sure it is a known company like Wyndam Resorts

  31. iridius says:

    I can’t believe people actually still buy timeshares the “old” way. So many people want to get rid of timeshares these days, you can buy them through timeshare resale places at sometimes just %5 of the original cost.

  32. HogwartsAlum says:

    This makes me want to carry a Post It pad around and when I see one of those boxes, stick a note on it that says “Timeshare pitch.”

  33. dougp26364 says:

    Wow! With all the communication that goes on in this day and age, someone STILL doesn’t understand that, when you sign up for some contest at a drop box, you just sent in your invitation to be called by a salesman or telemarketer.

    If you ever decide to take a timeshare tour, know the time limit, look at your watch and tell them you’re leaving once the alloted time has been met. The won’t like it but it’s the only alternative to spending 3 or 4 hours with a salesman, his manager and then the last chance closer offering you a “temporary” membership or some such nonsense.

    Better yet, DON’T put you name and phone number on any slip of paper you’re going to drop in some box with the belief that you’ll win anything.

  34. Judge_Smails says:

    I think Subway was where the Glenngary leads were from too.

  35. kathyl says:

    If you have Call Block on that line (you might not even know that you have that feature unless you do a little research) then add that number to your Call Block list so he stops bugging you. At the very least, don’t pick up and engage him in person, as all that will do is egg him on.

    Good luck getting out of their clutches, man.

  36. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    I went to see A Prarie Home Companionlast summer at Meadowbrook Pavillion (our local NH music venue). There was a drawing to upgrade your tickets to front-row seats, so I figured “what the heck” and put my name in the barrel.

    Two days later I got a phone call that I had won “four airline tickets” to anywhere in the US. Of course, the catch was coming to the “office” to claim my “prize.” Since I hadn’t signed up for any contest, I was immediately suspicious. A little Internet research revealed that the “office” was actually the local InnSeason Resorts trying to lure people to their sales office so they could push their timeshare scam. Apparently, they “disguise” their drawing as an official seat upgrade promoted by the park, and then harvest e-mails and telephone numbers to use for their pool o’ yuppie-suckers.

    The woman at the resort kept calling me back every day for more than a week. I finally entered her number under “SCAM” so I could just ignore her calls.

    I sent a complaint e-mail to the Meadowbrook Pavillion office about their “buddies” purposely deceiving concert-goers. It went unanswered. I’m guessing the venue owners get a share of the sucker-profits.


  37. menty666 says:

    I would think the phrase, “Listen, I’m filed for bankruptcy last week and this was the only way I could afford a nice trip” would be sufficient to shut them down in person.

  38. crappedcrusader says:

    Timeshare companies pay to put the boxes in restaurants and malls. Or they’ll just pay a company to collect the slips for them. Usually they bait you by (for example) putting a brand new car in a Mall and a plexiglass box next to it saying ‘Win $10,000’ or something to that effect. They’ll call to “confirm your information” and try to book you on a timeshare vacation, usually with offers of gift cards to be given to you after you complete the “tour” of their “resort”.

  39. Waverly V Phillips says:

    We always run into these time share pimps when we go to Orlando. I just shut them down right at beginning of their initial pitch. “Would you like some discounted Disney tickets?” Nope, Nope, and No.

  40. NikonGal says:

    Timeshares are not a bad thing. Nowadays, you can buy a timeshare for practically nothing. But the key thing to know here is NEVER NEVER buy from a developer. If you’re interested in a timeshare, buy from a current owner looking to sell. As I said, you can get one for practically nothing. Check ebay or classified ads, etc. Once you’re an owner, there’s no difference in what you bought, except you paid a heck of a lot less for it.

    And also – learn to use your timeshare! Visit one of the better timeshare boards (Timeshare Forums or Timeshare Users Group), you’ll get tons of advice.

    I bought a timeshare from a developer (before I knew better), but it’s not been a bad thing. We’ve taken some great vacations with that timeshare (Hawaii, Mexico, Banff, Whistler, etc.) but again, the trick is knowing how to use it.

  41. Brian Tenpenny says:

    A take-out place near our house had a similar set of drop boxes for various prizes. The best of the bunch, without a doubt, was one where, by filling out the little prize slip, you agreed to change your long distance service to their company. That was, by the way, in tiny print on the back of the slip. I didn’t fill any of them out, but it gave me something to read while I waited for my egg rolls.

  42. bagumpity says:

    My cousin has PTSD from Iraq II. One of those timeshare places offered him a “free vacation to military vets,” and (against my advice) he went.

    He had a full-blown panic attack when they started the hard sell. Started hyperventilating, hit the floor, and passed out for about a minute and came back groggy as all heck. His wife got hysterical, shouted at the sales guys, said it was their fault, they almost killed him, etc. etc.. They gave them their voucher & sent them on their way.

    I’d never go to one of those presentations, but if they ever somehow con me into it, I plan to do the exact same thing. Hopefully my feeble acting skills are up to it.

  43. Kyuso says:

    I work in the teleservice industry (no, not a telemarketer, I recruit volunteers) and with changes in the law, this kind of tactic is on the wrong side of the law. Unless there was full disclosure on the “drawing” form that stated you were specifically opening yourself up for a sales pitch then you’re in the right to tell them to put you on their internal do not call list and that if they don’t honor it, you’ll file against them. Then ask them how they’d like to pay fines because they won’t leave you alone :)

  44. CarbonFiberFootprint says:

    Who is stupid enough to put their information in a drop box these days?

    • econobiker says:

      @CarbonFiberFootprint: Free stuff.

      [It reminds me of the old pre-internet college days. Each Fall semester all campus clubs and organizations participated in an outdoor fair for new and returning students who might be interested in joining. One year my room mate, a born & bred, and staunchly Democratic Party supporter got signed up for interest in the Young Republican Club. The look on his face when he reviewed the first phone message and later received a couple more of the calls was priceless. I let him hang until after he yelled at them on the second call.]

  45. wiley14 says:

    Sorry, but OP is an idiot. Most every timeshare thing I’ve seen works this way. Most of the time, it’s legit.

    But, if you are concerned, you could put the $75 on your Visa/MC/Discover card and if they renege on the deal, file a claim/chargeback.

    The wife and I did one something similar this year from Vacation Village. We had to pay $75 to go – but even if they did renege, you can’t get 3 nights anywhere for $75 (unless you stay at roach motel).

    We ended up getting our original $75 back plus another $200 for a timeshare presentation. The only thing we had to pay was gas (we lived 3 hours away from the timeshare), so our entire vacation was essentially free.

    One possible explanation is the franchisee/owner of the Subway would get a kickback. We bought into the timeshare – and if any of our friends go on our referral – we get $100, regardless of whether or not they buy.

    But the real point is, like many other people have noted, don’t drop your info in a box if you don’t want to be called. It’s a marketing technique, plain and simple.

  46. Elizabeth Anderson says:

    Once I found a “Free Sandwiches” flyer on my car. I was in college, and hungry, so I walked over to Jimmy John’s (right next to my house) to claim my free sandwich. Turns out you only got a free sandwich if you signed up for a Citibank credit card!