Sounds like a scam. Why didn't you post the phone number?
I got a postcard in the mail today advertising some promotional trip to Honolulu. Now, I'm totally fine with exploiting timeshare presentations to their maximum -- my mom and I have turned down our share of timeshares while basking in the warm sun of exotic Carson City. But is this a timeshare deal? What gives?
Here's the post card:
Is it a scam? And if not -- who wants to go to Hawaii with me?Dear [person who no longer lives at this address],
First Class Travel has arranged Airfare & Accommodations for Two (2), To Honolulu, Hawii for only $100.00.
These Promotional Trips are limited and from a large wholesaler*. Some restrictions and blackout dates apply.
Call now to arrange your Hawaiian Vacation.
Reservations accepted up to one year in advance.
Call [phone number]
Please give your [offer number]
Offer limited. Must respond by June 6, 2008
*Wholesaler is a California registered seller of travel.
Not sponsored by American Airlines, but is a provider of airline tickets
Sounds like a scam. Why didn't you post the phone number?
I'll go to Hawaii with you as long as I don't have to attend the timeshare presentation with you.
Partial scam at best. You call and get on the phone and then you get "The pitch." Excuses to try to sell you something else include, but are not limited to:
-absurdly confining blackout dates
-absurdly extensive restrictions
-"limited number" = "Oh well those are sold out, but we still have..."
-if [offer number] = leave your own telephone number, you're going on the telemarketing "A" list. Guaranteed. You've just given consent to be contacted about special offers, which the way things work these days means every jerk on Earth can and will call you.
I'd stay the Hell away from it.
My rule of thumb here: only go to presentations in your area, such as what Trendwest does, that reward you for showing up with a free trip somewhere. Even then, they'll throw on some wacky restrictions, but at least you know you're not obligated to waste some of that trip time going to presentations.
That is a mailer for any number of industries from timeshare to mortgage companies. It is not a scam, but it is a promotional piece whose intent is to bypass the DNC registry. They also do this with the email spam. Due to the loopholes of the National DNC and the state regulations of State DNC lists if you recieve a Email or a "responder" mail piece you are allowed to be contacted again.
It varies from promotion to promotion and company to company. As Bill says they are usually extremely restricting in terms of blackouts or availability but it does vary from offer to offer. It is typical to buy these things from wholesale travel agency which typically have extremely poor customer service.
If you want to take the chance, ask the details, get it in writing and hold their feet to the fire if they try any slick stuff. It's simply a cheaper form of advertising in the grand scheme of things so you have to be interested in whatever product the promotion is for.
Watch the Asspen episode of South Park for laughter and education.
/me files for divorce
Holy shit, I just realized BobJustBob is my Dad.
My dad fell for one of these. Though to be fair, it wasn't his fault. The company promoting it also happens to be a well known chain of hotels in South East Asia. The blackout dates are pretty absurd to the point where it was impossible to book a hotel during any vacation period. So really, what's the point?
This thread reminds me why I'm not married.
I just got a call from "Marriott Resorts" yesterday offering me a free 5 day 4 night stay at their newest Orlando resort hotel if I'd simply attend a 90-minute presentation on the final day. They claim they got my number and name from my Marriott rewards program. That's disconcerting, as I wasn't aware that Marriott was affiliated with timeshare deals. It was also strangely well-timed, as we're going to Florida on our annual vacation next month and have spent a couple of days in Orlando each of the past three trips (to hit theme parks for the kids). I didn't ask about blackout dates or anything, I just told them I wasn't interested. Now I wish I'd gotten more details because I'm curious if it was a scam...
I saw an hidden camera investigation of these a few years ago. In this one, at one point you had to do a solo interview/presentation deal (you and your spouse talking to one of their reps), though this one was in a large room with several of these going on around the room.
Then the hard sell begins. And it gets harder. When you resist, they get harder bringing in a supervisor. High pressure intimidation tactics. "Sure, I'll just get up and walk away." I should hope so, but these guys are good at making you suffer. They must get enough people to sign up to make it worth while. Lots of people end up paying a sign-up fee or whatever just to get out of the room.
If it was actually a good deal, why would they have to dangle "free" trips. I would bet that if you are independently interested in getting a time share deal, there are reputable companies that can help you without the teasers and intimidation.
I'm not sure I understand why you couldn't just play your DS w/ headphones or have a super loud conversation with whomever was with you while the guy talks at you.
I can't see that sort of stuff working on people from my generation. We were trained from birth to ignore people.
If you're not interested in the time share opportunity you should not go. Morality 101.
Timeshare scams, email sales, door to door sales, telemarketers. These evils will continue until we as a people raise up and refuse to ever, EVER!, buy anything from them. Sure you may buy a new sweeper attachment that gets behind the desk, around corners and can fill in when the wife is out of town. But now the rest of us have to put up with knocks interrupting dinner on a tuesday night because you made their business model possible.
Though refusal to participate in their business is only the 2nd best option. The best option is to keep a few copies of "What Drug Dealers, Clamydia and Door to Door Salespeople Have in Common" handy and try to sell them to door to door sales people that come by. If you can pull that off your a master. Telemarkers can be encouraged to purchase "Why suicide is a step up for telemarketers" online.
So then they tell me that this room goes for $400 a night and they were giving it to me for $150 a night, and I said, "See what you just did there? You just tried to sell me something. Now if it was free I might be able to work with you."
So she kicked me upstairs to her manager and he offered me 5 days/3 nights (how the fuck does that work? I spend one 24 hour period in the casino?) for $50. I explained the difference between $50 and free, and he offered $50 in chips at the casino. Sorry, but I don't gamble (true). So he changed it to a $50 credit towards any show at the hotel.
At this point I told him that we had already booked our vacation in Seattle, but we hadn't yet booked a hotel. Did he have one of these special offers at a hotel in Seattle, say the last week of July, first week of August?
At that point he figured out I was fucking with him. I informed him that he had called my cell phone and I wouldn't report him (since his number was in my call list) but please add me to his Do Not Call list.
Yes, it was a slow morning today.
What I find interesting is that you all immediately associate 'timeshare' with scam. Now I don't own a timeshare, but I do know some people that work in the business, and it is quite a large industry. Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, they all own or operate timeshare (or fractional ownership as is more popular these days) resorts and do huge business.
There are a number of things that people buy every year that involve quite a bit of salesmanship that are not scams...
Most of the ones in Vegas are legit. Friends have used them in the past to come and visit. One of them did buy a timeshare.
I sold timeshare points face-to-face a long time ago. It's actually an artform. If I recall correctly it goes something along the lines of :
1. You get the meet and greet (Or greet the meat.) during which the sales guy finds out more about you and builds up a rapport. After a while you become a chameleon, reading people and changing your personality to appeal to the client.
2. Taking what you've learned you find out what their ideal vacation is.
3. Get them to visualize their ideal vacation.
4. The pitch.
5. A bit more visualization.
It really is something to see a master at work.
Also, nobody ever wins the big prize and the free holiday restrictions are such that only the elderly and retired or single can take them up as they are usually midweek, at short notice during school term. We offered a number of freebies and the retired and single with no commitments were never offered the free holidays.