Reemergence of the “Hard Sell” in Timeshare?

Just when we thought the timeshare industry had tidied up its sales tactics, an article comes out like the one by Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times, indicating that perhaps it hasn't.  Morgenson’s article, "The Timeshare Hard Sell Comes Roaring Back" zeros in on Diamond Resorts, and not just their particularly aggressive sales tactics, but some of their other business practices as well. Soaring maintenance fees, blocking club members from taking vacations where and when they want, and the difficulty of selling a timeshare, are also indicated as problems in Diamond's business practices.

Why Now?

The New York Real Estate News website, has speculated at what's causing the return to hardball tactics. In "The Timeshare Business is Back, Hardball Tactics and All", the article suggests that maybe the industry has come full circle. Before the recession timeshare companies used the hard sell regularly, and now because of a strong luxury housing market, timeshare has reverted back to it.  

In the New York Times article, Morgenson shared a similar perspective, "After crashing in the financial collapse, timeshare sales are rising again, and with them high-pressure sales practices". 

More Oversight Needed?

Recent suggestions of a need for more oversight by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have been circulating in the timeshare industry.  (For anyone unfamiliar with CFPB, the company website states, "CFPB is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives").  The idea is that stronger government regulations should be created to regulate companies like Diamond and other large entities such as Marriott, Wyndham and Interval Leisure Group. 

Unfortunately, in almost all industries there will be scams and scammers, but we don't want to have a few bad apples ruin the great progress and growth the timeshare industry has made in the past few years. Owners, sellers and buyers must continue to speak up and identify bad practices and the companies that use them. Regulators like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as well as the self-regulating  industry association ARDA are there to keep industry abuses down. We want to know if you have experienced any problems you would like to share. Let us know if you think we need more regulations!

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