Wyndham timeshares Complaint - Be careful during a timeshare presentation
After buying two Wyndham timeshares and listening to several other presentations, I believe I can offer useful advice on listening to a timeshare presentation.
The first thing that will happen is your salesperson will ask some general questions to get you to talk about your travel and vacation habits, what are your likes and dislikes, and any personal info they can glean. They use this to tailor their presentation to amplify the things you like and answer or avoid your dislikes. You won't even notice this manipulation. This is not dishonest, it is just how selling is done. For example, my wife mentioned that she was disappointed that the salesperson we bought our first timeshare from never followed up; our second salesman Jim soon began to say how he liked to keep in touch with his "thousand owners" and keep them appraised of events; how his owners always liked to call. When he stepped away for a minute, another salesperson came over to tell us how fortunate we were to have such an attentive salesman as Jim, all his owners just loved his followthrough. It was all an act, of course. After we bought, he did not follow through on anything. We called him once for an explanation of something he told us that was a flat lie; he said he was busy and would call right back. We never heard from him again. Lesson: the salesman is not your friend; before the sale you are a potential source of income; after the sale, you are an irritating waste of his time.
This is very important: the only completely truthful things you will hear are those few facts that will be in writing on the two dozen documents you will sign if you buy. Everything else will be half truths or outright lies. The timeshare product is made deliberately complicated, and is full of qualifications, rules, policies, exceptions and practices that make your benefits less than you were led to believe. The purpose is to make you want to buy more points to fill in the deficiencies. You will be continually dismayed later as nothing is how you thought. A few examples: they said our points were good for a year. We were surprised to be told seven months later that our points were soon to expire. They never revealed the first year was only nine months, and were quite happy to let us believe the year would be 12 months. We got bonus points from the first timeshare, good for two years (but only one year nine months as it turns out), and more bonus points for our second timeshare. I added the two together, and our salesman was only too happy to show us all the places we could go with that many points. He knew, but didn't tell us, that the second bonus points were to be delayed 10 months until the first bonus points expired, so they couldn't be added together. There will be many, many such qualifications that they know but will not reveal without a direct question.
When points are about to expire, you transfer them to RCI, which converts them into weeks that you can book at any RCI resort. Sounds great and your salesman will spend a lot of time showing you the great resorts. That much is true. What he won't tell you is that there is so much demand, that you will be calling to get on a waiting list for 18 to 24 months in advance for nice resorts in season. And you have to pay the transaction fee up front. And if you fail to get the booking, you've just lost a year or two on the life of your week. No wonder they conceal it.
Here's a more serious example. We couldn't swing the second timeshare, as I asked if we might recoup some of the money by renting out our week in Orlando over Christmas. Jim showed us Christmas room rates for resorts nearby that were astonishingly high, enough to recoup half our purchase price. Now we own and have the Christmas week booked, but we find we will be lucky to get a fifth of what we expected. I think he was showing us the posted rates for those other resorts. You know, when you stay at a $49 Motel 6, and on the back of the door the posted rate for the room is $215. He knew we were never going to get those numbers, but was quite happy to nudge us into believing whatever would get him the sale. Unfortunately, It was this prospect of covering half our purchase price that sold me.
Think they will not tell an outright lie? Wyndham offers what they call Party Weekends, where you get two or three days at a top resort, a meal or two, and some top rated entertainment like a Knicks game or tickets to a pro golf tournament. Jim said "and for VIPs, they are FREE". For the very top entertainment, "they might charge $100, but mostly they are free. But you are limited to three per year." This one thing sold my wife, but it was a deliberate lie. Party Weekends go for $700 and up, most of them over $1,000.
Before you go to your first presentation, go to Ebay and search for "wyndham timeshares". You will find many for sale at one fifth or less that the price from Wyndham. Why so low? With the annual fees and taxes, the inconveniences, the hidden qualifications and conditions, its not really that good a deal. Remember, as a Wyndham salesmen told me last week as he tried to sell me more points, "points are points, it doesn't matter what home resort they are from." If you think you might like timeshare, get one on Ebay for $500 and see how you like it.