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Staying Clear of Timeshare Hoaxes

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Over the years, the timeshare business has developed a reputation for being one of the most scam-filled industries out there. Although most timeshare offers are legitimate, scams and shady deals flocked the market so much that people started generalizing and taking the business as a big fraud. Also not helping the industry's reputation are timeshare brokers and agents who use hard-sell tactics and other sales practices that aren't necessarily illegal but definitely unethical.

Look Out for the Sales Pitch: Sellers often encourage people to listen to one of their sales presentations by offering huge prizes if they just stay for the entirety of the pitch. Some of the most common items they offer include cash rebates or new cars and appliances. It is important to find out the details and terms regarding these prizes before agreeing to anything. Often times, there are hidden costs you have to pay to claim these free gifts. Some of them are even different from the impression they give. There have been reported cases in which a free boat that was offered as a prize turned out to be a toy one. Sometimes, people who already own a timeshare are convinced to buy another one with promises that their old one will be easily resold, when in fact the broker doesn't exert any effort to do so.

Aggressive Sales Tactics: High-pressure sales pitches, also known as hard-sell tactics, employ hardnosed and confrontational methods, designed to bully you into signing that timeshare contract. Some even take a jab at the consumer's pride, by insinuating they might not be the right kind of person for the deal. The key to avoiding these tactics is to recognize the seller's intention in his tone and choice of words.

Never agree to sign anything on the spot. Take the information offered home with you, read the contract (or have someone else more knowledgeable do it for you), look carefully and consider the details and then come up with a decision. If you've decided to make the purchase, only then should you contact the agent or the company he works to discuss the deal. Make sure you get every detail in writing. Ask if you can visit the property you're buying before signing the contract. It's never a good idea to spend thousands of dollars on something personally unseen. Photographs in a glossy brochure don't count. Never make any impulsive mood in front of the seller. Always keep in mind that most of these agents are hardcore sellers who don't care about other people's welfare as long as they make their sales.

Occasionally, new timeshare units are sold before the property is even built. If the financing for the construction falls, the property might never be built. Use an escrow service to hold your money until you're sure everything is in order.

A poorly maintained property isn't a fun place to visit, so make sure there are terms in the contract defining exactly what maintenance services the resort will be providing. That way, you can take legal actions if the company cuts corners on upkeep.

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Tomy Thomas
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