Have You Ever Sat Through A Timeshare Pitch For Cash?

Charlie wrote to us from his vacation, where he got a hundred bucks for ninety minutes of his time. Yes, he sat through a timeshare pitch. And he wonders, have others in the Consumerist community sat through pitches in exchange for cash or free trips?

As I write this I’m Hawaii having just completed a Hilton time share sales pitch. In exchange for a 90 minute presentation, I scored $100 to spend at this resort.

All in all an extremely pleasant and fair trade for my time while on vacation. While I find the idea of time shares to be one of the crappiest, foolish and dangerous real estate investments anyone ever make, I’m curious about fellow Consumerists and their experiences attending these time share pitches. And do you think that $100 is fair compensation for your time when attending one of these 90 minute sales pitches?

And have you ever walked in with a strong will and walked out owning a timeshare?


Edit Your Comment

  1. scoutermac says:

    Yes. the 30 minute show turned into a three hour “Please Please buy from me”. Also.. a “What do I have to do to get you interested in timeshare?”.

    • cybrczch says:

      My response to that question would be something that was definitely illegal, immoral, and socially unacceptable.

    • humphrmi says:

      Same here. Watched the pitch, sat nicely with the salesman as he did his job, then politely said no, and spent the next 30 minutes trying to get out of the room. Never again.

    • bluline says:

      Did it several times in Aruba about 20 years ago. Maybe longer. Each pitch came with free dinners at different local restaurants, plus cheap T-shirts. We ate free most of the week and gave the shirts away.

      I got a call today saying I’d won a free three-night cruise on Royal Caribbean, including airfare to Miami. The person who called tried to evade my direct questions about the “catch,” but I was soon able to get her to admit there is a mandatory sales presentation involved. I’ll be skipping this one as I’m sure the process of claiming the cruise and the airline tickets isn’t worth the effort.

    • aen says:

      It’s easy, sit down at the presentation, tell them you’re a student and walk away 5 minutes later cash in hand.

  2. DJ Charlie says:

    I have, and never got the money.

    “Fill out this card with your name, address, and 2 phone numbers, and we’ll mail you a check for $100” at the end of the pitch.

    Needless to say, nobody filled out their cards.

    • scoutermac says:

      I actually walked out with money, gift cards, and a hotel reservation for a nicer hotel than the one I was staying in while on vacation. But it took three hours to get it.

      • exit322 says:

        I think that’d still be worth it, even for three hours…depending on how much we’re talking about with the gift cards.

      • BBBB says:

        My sister is good at figuring out the cost/benefit of the pitches.

        One thing to be careful of is if they take you to another location for the pitch.
        The ride back is often not available for a long time unless you sign. It is
        harder to just walk out when you have to find your own way back [and can end
        up costing you a taxi fare].

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

      Yes, I have gotten money (and other goodies) after sitting through a presentation but not making a purchase. On the other hand, I’ve also gotten money and goodies after sitting through the presentation and buying a timeshare (still have it, use it regularly, much

      Biggest single score: no closing costs, two free roundtrip airline tickets anywhere in the world, a free 7-night stay in any Hilton hotel in the world, $50 cash, $100 in chips (hey, it was Vegas after all), two free tickets to see the Rockettes, two free buffet dinners (woohoo!), and a bunch of taxi vouchers. The sales guys looked like they were going to cry after we finally signed on the dotted line. ;)

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

        Hmmm, the comment system truncated my sentence. It should’ve read “much love for Hilton”. Oh well.

  3. Wes_Sabi says:

    I have, also in Hawaii, for discounts on snorkeling and luau packages. It was 90 minutes but took an hour longer than that because my wife kept asking questions.

  4. tungstencoil says:

    In Hawaii, I sat in on one just to get discounted excursion tickets. Our excursion went from $125/person to $6 (odd, I know). We got the discount coupon immediately after; it allowed for discounts on nearly every excursion. We could have gotten up to I think 3 discounted events.

    Some friends did it too, and flat out said “no and we don’t have money” and got let go early. It took us about an hour or so, with lots of back-and-forth. Still worth it IMO.

    Another resort we sat in on it, but turned out the incentive wasn’t really an incentive. That kind of sucked.

  5. nbs2 says:

    We were young and cheap, so for our honeymoon we did this. Except we got the 3 night stay and dinner at a local restaurant in exchange for our sitting through the pitch. The pitch ended up lasting 30-60 minutes.

    We also did it on another vacation, but it was a surprise – we weren’t told that our great rate was subject to a pitch. We had already booked dive times (the reason for the trip) and they conflicted with all the openings they had for pitch times. They blustered, but eventually gave in – so that cost us 10 minutes of discussion about the pitch, 0 for the actual pitch.

  6. RobertWBoyd says:

    I did way way back when I was in college. I was on a ski trip and we had a partial day before leaving, so I and a classmate sat through this hard sell for time-share condos at Winter Park. It was kind of brutal–the salesman implied we were idiots for not taking this deal. But in the end, we got gift certificates that could be used in town. I went and bought a nice pullover sweater that I wore for years after. A morning well-spent.

  7. Mike says:

    My in-laws do this all the time.

    They’ve gotten the gamut of sales reps too–some just look at them and say, “You’re just here for the money, right?” and give them their money and don’t waste their time; others try the hard sell for hours, and act like you’re obligated to buy from them because they are giving you the incentive (which is never true.)

    The best part was when we were at a timeshare with them, and my father-in-law proudly says how they’re immune to the sales pitches. I had to remind him he owned 2 partial shares in the system, so obviously he wasn’t completely immune. Mind you, they’re very shrewd and do very well in the secondary market of leasing timeshares, so it was cost-effective for them to get into the system, but at least twice they said yes to the sales proposal out of the dozens of times they listened.

    • Jevia says:

      My parents own three timeshares and I get to use one pretty much whenever I want. I’ve used them several times and virtually every time, the place we stay asks us to participate in a sales pitch in exchange for something. We’ve done it about half the time (sometimes we can’t bring the kids, or we have other family staying with us) and the incentives have been pretty good. Sometimes we’ve gotten the hard sell (3-4 sales people), sometimes we just show up for 15 minutes.

      Got a free snorkle lunch cruise, a free dinner cruise, $500 hotel/resort credit, $150 dinner voucher, 3 free days rental car, 4 water park tickets. Many times, the presentation has included a buffet breakfast or lunch. Never once have I bought anything because I don’t need to, I use my parents’.

      We did consider buying into a program in Mexico, but opted against it because it was limited to 5 hotels (but very very nice places and wasn’t too expensive). if we wanted to limit our vacations to just Mexico, we would have considered it. But there’s a heck of a lot of the world still to see (which is one thing that makes timeshares nice – at least if you can use someone elses).

  8. Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

    One of the funniest South Park episodes was for the timeshare at the ski resort.

  9. LiveToEat says:

    My parents did this a lot on family vacations. They were usually for discount Disney tickets or water park tickets. I thought it was worth it, free breakfast, tour of a nice facility, and then ticket discount for an hour of so of our time. If they tried to drag the pitch out my mom would give us a signal and we would start acting like brats so the salespeople would want us to leave as much as we wanted to leave.

  10. RickinStHelen says:

    My wife isisted we sit through a pitch in Vancouver, WA. It was supposed to be 90 minutes, but lasted for about three hours. We got some useless coupons for things like a Spirit of Portland dinner crusie (2 for 1), that we never used them. The benfit is I never have to do something like this again, because I can just tell my wife, “but remember that time in Vancouver,” and she drops it.

  11. ClemsonEE says:

    Yes, my wife and I on our honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta, sat through a timeshare thing that lasted for about 90 minutes, they gave us free breakfast at the beginning, then each time we said no, a new guy came and lowered their price significantly. I can see how it’s easy to succumb to those because those prices got very low, but it was easy for us to say no as we didn’t have the money for it.

    At the end, they gave us vouchers for a day cruise to an island where there was a dinner (buffet of steak and seafood) and a show, and the cruise had free rum flowing. It was one of our favorite parts of the honeymoon and it was completely free (would’ve cost us $250 if we wanted to do it).

    • PhilMills says:

      I think my wife and I went to the same presentation (and the same dinner/show gift) on /our/ honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta!

      The resort we stayed at (a timeshare rented with her parents’ timeshare credits) was incredibly cool and low-key about the whole thing – a nice breakfast and no pressure. The vultures that hit you at the airport, though… man. The resort they were pimping for that day was brutal. We bargained at the airport for cab fare to our hotel, tickets to the dinner cruise, tickets to the city tour and a bottle of tequila (my wife’s done this before).
      Their “60 minute presentation” went almost two hours before I started putting a foot down. They /did/ come through with the promised spiffs, but they sent in closer after closer after closer to drop the price and try again before we got out of there.

  12. speaky2k says:

    On one trip to Vegas my girlfriend and I at the time sat through 2 different sessions for free show tickets. We had a good time at the “free” shows and went to the timeshares during times where we wouldn’t have been doing anything but spending money on slots. We went to a free show every other night during our week long vacation.

  13. eturowski says:

    My friend’s parents took her and her brother on timeshare pitch-sponsored vacations when they were little. During the sales presentations, her parents gave my friend and her brother free reign to run around and be noisy to the point where the timeshare people would get frustrated and kick the whole family out, leaving them to enjoy the rest of their vacation pitch-free.

  14. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    Back in 1991 my spouse and I were in Hawaii and sat through a time share sales pitch presented to us by Bambi (yes, that was her name and she looked it too). We did the good cop bad cop thing with my spouse showing interest and me saying no. Over the span of 2 hours the timeshares went from $20k a week to under $9k a week. We had fun with them.

    On several occasions we request a few minutes to talk and went to walk the beach. A few minutes into the walk Bambi would run to us and let us know her manager liked us and had agreed to drop the price or some fee or another. The time shares got less and less overpriced.

    We had a great time. My spouse really did start to like the deal as the price approached a more reasonable level, but, being a hard ass I kept saying no.

    We walked away having had a great brunch, beautiful walks on a great beach and scuba diving vouchers in our pockets. Not bad for 2 hours invested.

    Sorry to have wasted your time Bambi.

  15. Dallas_shopper says:

    For $100? Probably not but I wouldn’t rule out sitting through the presentation.

    I’d never buy a timeshare.

  16. PiratePrentice says:

    Yep. Excellent way to score free meals and save the cash to eat dinner at better restaurants. Scored some free excursions (one to Chichen Itza) as well. Free bottles of booze appealed to the twenty-something me. Just say “NO” and walk away.

    Another fun trick: we used a $200 credit limit credit card (them is some 1993 dollars) that was nearly at it’s limit to show how uncreditworthy we were.

    Remember “No”, walk away and you’ll be fine.

  17. sufreak says:

    I made the mistake of buying a timeshare while on my honeymoon. I suspect it will be much more useful for us when we have kids, but being that our schedule is limited by a teachers calendar, its a bit more challenging. Impromptu trips are great if you have a TS.

    Ours isn’t horrible. Just the lies they told us are what piss me off the most.

  18. darascon says:

    Sat for an hour while down at Atlantic City. Walked out with $200 cash and an order form for a custom golf club.

    Couple weeks later, a custom composite driver for my height and (made up) handicap was at my door.

    Not a bad deal.

  19. gabrewer says:

    We have friends who will do this just to get discounted tickets to an amusement part or other attraction while on vacation. My feeling is that my vacation time has value (that is I could be spending that 90 minutes to 3 hours already in the park, on the excursion, etc.) and you can usually find some other discount — even if only 10% off with AAA — that for me makes suffering through the pitch much less of a value proposition than it first might appear. Agreeing to hear a pitch in return for being able to stay at nice digs while on vacation may be another matter, but I would still feel I’m giving in to an intrusion into my vacation time. Also, not that I have any sympathy or regard for the time share sales industry, but I think to intentionally agree to go to a pitch with no intention of considering the offer is — IMO — just sinking to a worse level than some of those doing the pitches.

    • Raekwon says:

      Every one I’ve attended didn’t care. I told them up front I wasn’t interested and they said to sign up and get the free gift anyway. They really don’t care your intentions as they just want people to attend.

      • DubbaEwwTeeEff says:

        This is something a lot of people overlook – a packed room is a pitch multiplier. Anyone in the room who is already susceptible to the offer is going to assume that everyone else in the room is too, which brings a sort of groupthink reinforcement effect – after all, would all these people really be there if it wasn’t a great deal? Contrast that with the effect of a mostly-empty room, which makes the pitchman’s shady tactics seem even shadier and might lose him a sale.

        Depending on how the pitch is presented, it could also create an artificial sense of scarcity – “I’d better jump on this now before everybody else in here does.”

        Even if you’re going solely for the free stuff, you’re still helping them reach their sales goals just by being there. They make so much money off the ones that *do* buy them, that they can afford to give a whole room some coupons or vouchers if it pushes just one more customer into a timeshare.

        • BBBB says:

          “a packed room is a pitch multiplier.”

          Also, in one we went to the start times were staggered so when you started, the three or four stages of the pitch were going on in other parts of the room (separated by dividers). The Signing Table had a big gong – every once in a while the gong would be hit and the sales person would tell you that another timeshare opportunity was gone. [I assume that most gongs were extras.]

    • hoi-polloi says:

      I agree that vacation time has value, and it’s more valuable than downtime at home. For shorter trips, there’s no way I’d commit 90 or more minutes to a sales pitch. On a week-long trip, I could see doing this for the right reward.

  20. rawrali says:

    We’ve sat through a couple timeshare spiels so my dad could play at very expensive golf courses for free.

    When I was 17, my mom and I went to Puerto Vallarta on vacation. The timeshare folks were always scoping us out, but once they figured out there was no man with us, they left us completely alone. We had a much more relaxing vacation that most of the other people at that resort.

    • winnabago says:

      The ones for a round of golf at an expensive course are pretty good in my experience. One local country club offered a free round if you listen to them for 30 minutes, and since they knew it wasn’t a spur of the moment thing (think $28k initiation bond and 3-4k annual dues), they were pretty laid back. It’s nice to dream though.

      At vacation spots, though, I tried it once and it was a little more pressure, with a combination timeshare/golf membership/food minimum package. Still easy to avoid the mind games and say no. Golf is something that my wife will NEVER be sold on, so I bring her along and let them go at it for a bit before we get ushered out.

  21. polishhillbilly says:

    Yes that how we were able to afford our honeymoon. 90 minutes of BS paid for 2 nights and 3 meals at Big Cedar Lodge outside of Branson., MO.

  22. Raekwon says:

    I do these if they offer cash or gift cards. I know they will often go over time so I factor that into whether or not it is worth it. Keep in mind you can also bargain or play hardball to get a better offer when they are signing you up. The first reward is often the lesser of the rewards they are allowed to offer. If they make your spouse attend with you then make them double the reward. The last time I did this was great. They only spent 5 minutes and gave up on me. $100 for 5 minutes is great.

  23. mcs328 says:

    Did it in Atlantic City. You don’t have to stay over the time they tell you and they are obligated to give you what you promise.

  24. DonnieZ says:

    Bought a week’s worth of a friend’s points to stay at the Grandview in Las Vegas. Upon checkin they asked if we wanted to see any shows in town and gave us a list of tickets that were available.. My wife saw Mama Mia on the list and she said that she’d like to see it.

    They said “Ok, that’s great.. Just come down and meet us for breakfast tomorrow at 8:30 , and take a 30 minute group tour of the property…”

    Breakfast was some stail pastries and I think a chaffing dish full of crap scrambled eggs. After we got our pastry on a crap paper plate, we found out that it was a one-on-one tour with my wife and I and the sales guy. An hour of walking the property, then 2 hours of getting the spiel of how their timeshares are way better than any other guys timeshares, point exchange programs, various destinations, then the price options. At one point my wife started to zone out and the guy literally snapped his fingers in her face to bring her back. Once we said that we were saving for a house and really couldn’t afford to buy a timeshare at the time even at the “one week a year” program, the guy snapped and turned into a total dick.

    He then turned us over to the “closer” guy who offered us an “Every other year” program for half price. Again, we told this guy that we were saving for a house and by which he repiled “Well, you need to buy this, because when you fill out a mortgage app you can check the box that states you already own property and they put your application in the ‘fast track to approval pile.'” Needless to say we didn’t end up buying and this guy got even more pissed. He signed our “completion form” that entitled us to the free Mama Mia tickets and said to the hostess “Get them out of here!”

    I’ll never forget that experince and how big of assholes they turned into once we said we weren’t interested and couldn’t afford it. We ended up getting out of there at noon which blew almost a half a day’s worth of time in Vegas. We did get our show tickets and saw the show, but at that point I might just as well have paid for the tickets with the time I had invested.

  25. Rachacha says:

    Never for a timeshare, but our local car dealer was offering a deal “take a test drive and we will give you a $50 debit card”. We showed up in our 3 month old vehicle with our two young kids in tow and the sales man asked “are you really interested in taking a test drive, or do you just want the card”. He knew the answer already, and was not looking forward to helping us move our child seats so he activated the debit card and we were on our way in 5 minutes.

    • Sarahlara says:

      I miss those days! We got at least four debit cards by showing up at various dealerships.

      I remember the Saab guy didn’t even try, he just took one look at us and handed the card over.

  26. handyrae says:

    I never have, but my mother’s boss and his wife would do it every now and then. At the end of the pitch his pat reply was “I can’t commit now. I have to go home and pray about it.” He said the salespeople never had a good comeback for that. One day I want to try it for myself.

  27. marc6065 says:

    My problem is I like to verbally spar( argue) with people and usually get into a discussion on why would I want to spend $12-15-20,000 on one week at their resort plus 4-6-800 or more on maintenance fees each year when in reality I can rent a condo for the same $6-800 for the week? They then go into all the benifits etc and I shoot them down the whole time. I can’t figure out why when you obviously don’t want it they keep going on, just give me the stuff and we can both do something else. I have a feelling that the hard sell they give you is backed up by a bigger hardass sales manager that is a little Hitler if they don’t give the whole sales pitch. I would rather pick up rotten road kill in 100 degree, 100% humidity in the summer than do their job.

  28. sirwired says:

    Hell no. Sitting through one of those things was one of the most infuriating experiences of my life. It was an insult to my intelligence and about as fun as spending quality time with a shady Used Car Dealership.

  29. Jacquilynne says:

    I went to a timeshare sales pitch here in Toronto having been promised a fabulous prize. It happened on a day when there was basically a blizzard, so when I got there, I wanted to keep my coat on, because I was freezing.

    They spent about 10 minutes trying to talk me into giving up my coat, and then seemed to come to the realization that if I couldn’t be convinced to give them my coat, I probably also couldn’t be convinced to buy into their timeshare scam, and they told me to leave.

    I never got my prize.

  30. Scoobatz says:

    Last year, I sat through a 90 minute time share presentation and received an iPad 2.

  31. punkrawka says:

    I’ve done two now. One was a 60-minute presentation in exchange for a nice dinner in St. Thomas, and it went great. We said no, and the guy was very professional even though he gave us three different pitches. No complaints at all. We did another about two hours from home (in Virginia) where 90 minutes turned into 3 hours, and the gift (a “free” cruise) had 1 million strings attached and was not at all worth the hassle. Doubtful that I’d ever do another one.

  32. mydogspot says:

    My parents did this away back in 1978. We lived in upstate NY and they sat through a day of timeshare hard sell in Lost Wages so that they could then rent a car and drive to Tucson, where my dad had a job interview, and look for a house. Almost free job interview and house hunting trip, and we moved 3 months later. Such a deal.

    • Not Given says:

      Of the 4 onsite interviews my son had around the country, he wasn’t out even cab fare. The prospective employers paid for everything.

  33. Bent Rooney says:

    I did once in 2000 down in Puerta Vallerta. It took a little over an hour, but they gave us tickets for a couple really nice excursions.

  34. some.nerd says:

    Yes- “1 hour” turned into a three-hour aggressive pitch, with the addition of the saleswoman saying our future kids would think we were bad parents if we didn’t take at least 3 vacations a year. Better believe my wife tore that woman a new one after that comment! At the time, the $100 visa card came in handy, but on future trips we will likely not be interested, nor will we likely be as cash-strapped (we were only 25 at the time).

  35. anthem11 says:

    My wife and I did in Las Vegas. It was about 3 hours. They gave us $175 in gaming credits. We then took that $175 in credits and turned it into cash. Very easy. Free breakfast, too.

  36. BurtReynolds says:

    My wife and I didn’t even get asked to sit through the presentation when on our honeymoon. I think the “reward” was pretty weak anyway. We we staying in one of the more expensive rooms as well, you’d think they would assume we have some money. I guess they just assumed we didn’t.

  37. dolemite says:

    I did it once, and never again. For a free $100 meal, we sat there for about 3 hours. Why didn’t we leave? Well…you have to wait until they are “done” with you before they give you your ticket for the free meal. After the initial 90 minutes, you are already in it, and you think that any minute now your saying “no thanks” will get you your ticket.

    It was amusing how a $20,000 time share was reduced to like 15, 12, then finally $8,000 from the manager’s “personal collection” before we finally left though.

  38. Sully111 says:

    I did a 90 minute presentation at Marriott Grand Chateau who at the time was having a bit of a fight with the polo towers right next door. The tour was fine actually pretty interesting and the resort was brand new so everything was pretty. We were told before the tour that afterwards we would also have to listen to a polo towers representitive to get a quick overview of that property as well. Strange but OK since we were getting I think $100 cash money. Well the polo towers guy basically went through all the pricing that the Marriott people did and tried to debunk every aspect of it. He was basically saying that ALL timeshares were terrible, except of course for Polo Towers. He then tried to get us to go on a tour with one of his reps. We laughed walked back to the Marriott, grabbed our cash and promplty blew it all getting free drinks and playing blackjack. I love vegas

  39. Jeff asks: "WTF could you possibly have been thinking? says:

    We got accosted on Daytone Beach about 20 years ago. We were promised a complete set of luggage for sitting through their 2 hour pitch and walking what seemed like 5 miles looking at model time-shares. We finally got our free luggage after we convinced them we had no money, and no credit. The whole set fit in the smallest bag. It was made of nylon and vinyl and worth perhaps 20.00 retail.

  40. gafpromise says:

    Seriously? Consumerist is promoting these people? I call shenanigans. I’ve sat through two – both promised 90 minutes and both wasted more than three hours of my day. These people are scam artists and jackals. In exchange for one we got a one-night stay at this resort for like $49 bucks but there’s no way the place was worth more than that anyway. Not a dump really, just not a premium resort like we’d been led to believe. In exchange for the other we got a voucher for a future one night stay in Florida or someplace but we never even redeemed it.

    If you are not the confrontational type do not go to these things because they can spot the weak ones and they will give you one hard sell after another, trying every dirty trick in the book to get you to sign something, anything.

  41. c152driver says:

    After sitting through a couple presentations, we’ve decided not to do these any more. Even though our experiences weren’t that bad, 1-2 hours out of a one week vacation is too much in my book.

  42. cspschofield says:

    I’ve never gone to one of the pitches, but I found a way to get off their calling lists that worked like a charm, even back before the “No Call” law. I’d tell them “I own five acres of shore property near Cape Cod. You haven’t got a prayer of selling me anything.”

    Now that shore property is owned by my extended family, it’s “Near” Cape Cod the way Philadelphia is “Near” New York, and it’s mostly covered with poison ivy. But they had no way of checking, and they didn’t call back. I expect that telling them any reasonably believable lie (Shore property near Kitty Hawk, not an island in the Azores) would work as well.

  43. liam_cos says:

    I have gotten free tours out of it, but it generally takes longer than they claim and you have to be a little rude to leave.

  44. Portlandia says:

    He didn’t get cash, he got a 100 credit at the resort.

    Laura, why you no give accurate title?!?

  45. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    I sat through one of these friggin’ things in Atlantic City. Next time I’d rather hammer a nail in my knee or cut out my eye with a razor.

    • sprybuzzard says:

      Were they in the casinos? My husband and I split up when we walk by where they are so we’re not together. You’re a target when you’re a couple.

  46. Rick Sphinx says:

    We did, approached as we came of the plane in St. Thomas. We went to presentation. Price for time share went from $300/month, to $75/month, trying to get us to sign up (this was in the year 2000). I still said no. Got some cool gift certificates, wine and stuff. Enough it was worth the time, but you’ve got to be stern, and say no. You can’t even give away a time share now, not even donate it.

  47. Abradax says:

    My wife and I did a timeshare presentation for our honeymoon. We got to stay in a nice condo for a week and got free tickets to Universal Studios and Sea World all for 300 bucks. Even better, we told the salesman we were on our honey moon and just starting out so had no intention of buying and we didn’t want to waste his time, so he did the obligatory showing us the condo then ended the presentation so he could get to a profitable customer.

  48. Starrion says:

    We own a couple timeshares, and the companies have us out to the resort (a two hour drive) regularly for a two night weekend stay and $50.

    We go out there on their dime four to five times a year, one occasion I told the sales rep that we had eight things that were higher priorities that a vacation property. The sales rep.’s boss (the closer) snapped “So why did you come to a sales meeting then!!?” I told him “Oh, is this a sales meeting? We were invited to a “vacation survey” which you have in front of you. If your telephone reps hadn’t misrepresented the type of meeting, then we certainly wouldn’t be here.” That shut them up. I then explained that I came out for their “surveys” and “updates” and “VIP owners meetings”, but I know that anytime I want another unit, I can get one off any of the timeshare websites for a fraction of retail.

  49. Bryan Price says:

    I spent more money in gas than I did in getting compensation to the one that I went to.

    I’ll never do that again.

  50. emyaeak says:

    We sat through a Wyndham time share presentation last year for a free 4 night Carnival cruise to Mexico. 90 minutes turned into 3 hrs (as many others have mentioned) and the paper they signed beforehand saying that promise not to hard sell was a blatant lie. We were even somewhat interested, but said we’d have to do our own research first. They explained we wouldn’t receive a single “first day” incentive. We said we didn’t care, that if the product was good, we would call back and pay full price. They just STARED at us. Told us they have NEVER in all their combined sales years gotten a call back to pay full price. My husband is also in sales, and he knew right then that means it was not a good product. So after going through a few more salespeople (and being to lied to, saying we were going to get our free cruise packet but had to sit through their final closer before HE finally took us to the front desk to get the packet), we were quite irritable. But we survived! Yay for a free cruise! Until…

    We called the company providing the cruise vacation. The fees alone $300. Then they told us the category of cabin we were eligible for contained two single beds. To upgrade to a queen would be an additional $500. Yes, the “free cruise” they offered for a married couple (we had to be married to get the incentive) would have cost us $300 if we didn’t like each other and $800 if we did. I went to Carnival’s website and got a quote for $500, including fees, for the same 4 night to Mexico. In short, we did not end up going on the cruise and we’ve been bitter about Wyndham ever since.

    On the other hand, we used that $800 we saved NOT going on that “free cruise” and went on a Disney cruise instead. We did our research beforehand and decided we wanted to buy into Disney’s timeshare (called Disney Vacation Club or DVC). And we did. The whole experience was 1000% better than Wyndham. They were professional and explained ALL of the details and made sure we were very comfortable with how their points system worked, how much everything would cost upfront and over time, and allowed us to review the contract. Wyndham was completely opposite, lying to us and deliberately not telling us about certain things, which we discovered on our own after the fact. They also would not show us the contract prior to deciding, or even a studio (they showed a couple without kids the 3 bedroom suite that we told them we’d probably never use). We have not regretted buying DVC for a moment.

    • stebu says:

      Having consulted for a couple timeshare companies (and owning Disney Vacation Club) i can confirm that DVC is much better than the rest. After the first visit to our DVC sales guy, he gave my wife and I a couple free meal coupons, and then explained where to use them for maximum impact (mmmmmm, beaches and cream)

  51. dave731 says:

    My wife and I decided to sit through one about 6 years ago. It was for one of those points based vacation time shares. I called BS on the guy when he could not show us how to use our 15,000 points a year to get a week in Myrtle Beach. I said no thanks and they sent over the exit interviewer aka “The Closer” who walked with a pronounced limp. He then offered a reduced amount of points for half the price, I declined. He then proceeded to tell me that I wasn’t buying from him because he was crippled. This was the last straw we left.

  52. absherlock says:

    We’ve done it a few times in Florida for Disney or Sea World passes, once in Mexico for a day’s Jeep rental, a couple of times at a Pennsylvania mountain resort for water park passes and once for a land purchase deal(real creepy, trying to build the “perfect community” with no “undesirables”) where we got a Kindle and a decent set of golf clubs. Oh, and once in Vegas for show tickets.

    Our tip for keeping it short is to bring the kids. Either they’re with you and, after a reasonable amount of time, start to become a distraction or they’re left behind in the day care facility and my wife plays the nervous mother card. Regardless, once the agent realizes your attention isn’t on them and won’t be due to the children, they tend to wrap things up pretty quickly.

  53. t0ast says:

    My parents and a good friend’s parents paid for us to go on a brief vacation in Florida for our 21st birthdays. However, part of that was us having to go to a timeshare presentation to make part of it less expensive.

    The conversation basically went like this:
    “So, what do you two do for a living?”
    “We’re both in college. I have some summer internships but that’s about it.”
    “Ah, well, here’s some of our least expensive options (shows some pictures, rambles on about them for a bit). How do those sound?”
    “Any amount over $0 is too much, as we’re both currently making negative amounts of money.”
    (We go back and forth for a few more minutes, hammering home that there is zero chance of any deal happening today. He’s not particularly happy about it, but eventually yields.)
    “Okay then, have a good vacation.”

    Sales pitch time elapsed: 15 minutes.

    So I guess moral of my story seems to be to play the poor college student card if you can, and crush their hopes hard and fast.

  54. maxamus2 says:

    Sit in the 90 minute pitch then when they ask for questions just say “Should I wait for my bankruptcy to finish or should I jump on the offer now and include it in my bankruptcy”?

  55. Jennlee says:

    Before a trip to Kissimmee and Orlando I told my mother “Don’t listen to the people trying to get us to sign up for timeshare presentations – just ignore them. We don’t want to do a timeshare presentation.” She agrees, but of course we’re out walking to the grocery store and this guy at a kiosk on the street is like, “do you want discounts for Disney?” and my mom went over (sigh).

    She signed up (despite my telling her we shouldn’t) for the presentation to save like $100 on a 3-day hopper pass at Disney. At the time she was recently widowed but wasn’t telling people that (she was afraid people would take advantage of her) so she told the dude she was married. He unethically still signed her up, and said very clearly that she had to tell them she was single when she was there. (there’s rules that if you are married but alone that you can’t sign a contract to buy so it’s a waste of their time to do the presentation for you)

    Which I figured was OK because she was actually single, so it wasn’t unethical for her to go. So we get ready to go and before we leave I specifically tell her, “Now when we are there and they ask you, you have to tell them you are single.”

    Of course we arrive and they ask her marital status and she says she’s married. Then they come back and I try to explain that she’s recently widowed and so is technically single, but not used to saying she’s single, but they don’t buy it, so they kick us out!

    A wasted hour hassle with it! But a funny story.

  56. suez says:

    Yep, an old boyfriend and I sat through one in order to get two free all-day passes to a large waterpark near Williamsburg, VA. We also got free breakfast out of it. I thought it was worth it but he didn’t–not the park, but the sitting through the song-and-dance stuff.

  57. Sarahlara says:

    I went once, actually expecting to get the little freebie without buying anything. They went well over the time they allotted. As I left early, they loudly ridiculed me to others in the room. The whole thing reminded me of the Leader episode of the Simpsons. I’m not sure why anybody else would have stayed after seeing what happened when I left, but I suppose some people felt “I’ve gone this far…”.

    Huge waste of time. Never again.

    • Ablinkin says:

      I’d rather have my testicles bit off by a crocodile while swimming than sit through another one of these so called “free” sales presentations.

  58. LMA says:

    I’ve happily watched “Glenngarry, Glen Ross” about five or six times … does that count? ;D

  59. Not Given says:

    I think my parents did that for free accomodation 25-30 years ago, I don’t know if they also got cash, too. They went because the time share was in the same area as some relatives and they could go visit in exchange for a few hours of boredom. It wasn’t like they had to work at resisting the pitch, they never had any intention of blowing money on a purchase like that.

  60. MickeyMoo says:

    Sat through it with a friend years ago (20?) pretending to be newlyweds for free lift tickets @ Squaw Valley for free lift tickets. 3 hours of the highest pressure sales tactics I’ve ever encountered in my life – wasn’t worth it in retrospect, but we were young and poor and lift tickets were $35. The timeshares were hideous, microscopically small, overpriced, and the sales person totally lied about how transferable the time was. But we got the tickets and didn’t buy a timeshare so yay I guess…

  61. baxter says:

    back in the 80’s my old boss would do these things 3 or 4 times a year(before instant credit scores). He would sit thru the speech, act like he really wanted to buy into it, start the paperwork before asking if his recent bankruptcy would get in the way, then take his free gift(tv, vcr, cash or whatever) and leave. He did this quite often and would put his name on every mailing list he could find.

  62. craftman says:

    I went to a sales location to listen to the pitch but mostly just to score 3 free nights in Vegas (we were going there for an already planned vacation anyways). I got there, sat down and started talking to the salesman.

    He asked if I was married. I said yes. He said he’s sorry but he can’t give the presentation to me without my wife, because it would be unfair if I turned down this deal of a lifetime without her consent. I told him he was such a poor salesman that the only way he could make a sale was by using trite stereotypes about husbands and wives to play off their emotions and eventually wear one of them down enough to make a deal.

    I couldn’t really be that mad because I knew I was never going to purchase and just take the free hotel, but still…ridiculous how they operate.

    • Aliciaz777 says:

      The law in Nevada is you can’t buy property without your spouse of you’re married. My husband works in Time Share (he’s not one of the pitch salesmen, he signs couples up to go to the sales pitches). So yea, that’s why your wife had to be there. Most Time Share companies don’t have singles go to the sales pitches because in Time Share experience, singles usually don’t buy.

  63. RobofNYC says:

    I was going to Disney and their were signs for discount passes. Of course the catch was a “90 minute” sales pitch on time shares. I remember the woman as we met her stated how “it’s not so bad – after all I don’t have fangs”.

    Well 90 minutes later the fangs came out. Why won’t you buy. I knew the Xerox sales course on overcoming objections. I flat out told her I don’t owe her a reason and gave none. One other person came in and tried to persuade me. I didn’t budge. I gave no reason to the end.

    When you give a reason, then they work on overcoming objections. As far as comment, I always said it was OK, nothing more. Back then I was broke and it was worth the abuse.

    Today, it’s not worth 90+ minutes of my time.

  64. sean says:

    The girlfriend sat through one for a pair of tickets on Southwest. They made her fill out a form and send a money order for some trivial amount. Of course, they never specified that it had to be an INTERNATIONAL money order, and since it wasn’t the order got bounced back just before the date the forms were due. Ergo, wasted afternoon, and no tickets.

  65. infinitemonkeys says:

    Yes. At the end it turned into a stalling game no matter how strenuously I insisted I was not interested. I’m fairly confident the rep was under instructions to spend a minimum amount of time trying to leverage me into a ‘yes’. I hung out half an hour longer out of sympathy, then said I was leaving and he got my prize. Still, on a $$/hr rate, it was not bad.

  66. greenless says:

    I recently got cold-called by Direct Buy here in Austin. No idea how I got on their list, but the robo-call said something about sitting through a 90-minute pitch at the local store in exchange for 2 free plane tickets to anywhere in the US + a $100 gift card to Restaurant.com.

    I’ve done this a few times before with success at car lots and time shares for some goodies, so I figured I’d give this a shot, too.

    After the 60-minute pitch, my wife and I kindly told the sales rep that we weren’t interested in a membership. He smiled and said he’d be right back with the vacation package and our gift card. After reading through the brochure he gave us from “Grand Incentives,” it was quickly obvious that we’d been duped.

    The “free” packages are laced with stipulations and actually come with a minimum $50/person “processing fee.” The Restaurant.com gift card is basically useless, too — apparently, a lot of restaurants listed on their site don’t even honor the coupons. Weird.

    I’ve considered writing them (Direct Buy) a letter thanking them for their time and asking them for another source for the ‘free’ plane tickets, since the one they provided isn’t actually free. But… I don’t feel like wasting anymore time.

  67. wonderbean says:

    Last year, I was suckered into a resort “tour” for a measly $60 discount on attraction tickets. Well one hour into the presentation, I realized that I sold my time way too cheap. I explained that I did not have a reservation for the night and they told me no problem “we will put you in a room.” After 7 hours of sales pitches and mojitos, I gave in and bought a 15K timeshare. I gave them about 10% down. They gave me the next two nights at the resort for free. Two days later, I got back to the states and sent them my cancellation notice. Mexico has a 5 day right of rescission on timeshares. After a little harassment, I got my entire deposit refunded.

    Mexican resorts offer some great resort discounts for listening to a spiel. Read the fine print and understand your obligations for the pitch. Carry a watch and walk away when your committed time is over.

  68. jp7570-1 says:

    I went to one of these in the early 1980’s, just to get one of the promsied gifts. the cheapest of which was a portable tv (remember those?).

    I sat through a general presentation, somewhere around an hour, then was paired up with a sales rep for a one-on-one hardsell. I was a poor grad student at the time and relaly had no extra money to spend on a monthly timeshare payment. Try as he might, the sales rep couldn’t get me to budge. I reclal he started out with a fee of around $500/month and he eventually came down to around $150 (sounds cheap by today’s standards).

    Since I was just there for the gift, and he could tell I had like zero to spend, I was “released” to the redemption center. At first, they tried to pawn off a pen on me. When I showed them the letter that promised the tv at a minimum, they relented and gave me what I came for. I used that tv in my kitchen for several years – it was a no-name brand but worked fairly well for what it was.

    But I learned my lesson back then and never accepted an offer to pick up a “free gift” again.

  69. mcgyver210 says:

    I have seen a few over the years but after the last one I told my wife she would need to rent a husband if she wanted to see another one.

    They are never just 90min & very High Pressure even insulting you. I have found the secret to getting them to leave us alone. We just say we are RVers & they loose interest quickly.