The Timeshare Promotion: Just another Cheap Trip?

Timeshare promotions and gimmicks
We stayed at a luxury timeshare resort — but at what cost?

My wife and I decided to take this year’s vacation as outlaws. We posed as an ordinary couple with an infant son on a one-week getaway in Orlando, Florida. But unbeknownst to others, we were running amok as charlatans and grifters, a modernday Bonnie and Clyde, and Clyde, Jr.

OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating. We really are an ordinary couple with an infant son and, come to think of it, we didn’t actually perform any real felonious act, as long as speeding through North Carolina on our way down to Orlando doesn’t count.

But alas, our ruse was far more subtle; we had booked a week at a luxury Orlando timeshare resort for the incredibly low price of US$ 52 per night (travel not included), but with the agreement that we’d allow them to try and sell us one. The whole time, however, we really had no intention whatsoever of buying one. All we did was visit Mickey on the cheap!

Most of us have heard of this scheme. You sign a contract agreeing that during your stay you will attend a brief presentation (usually a brunch meeting) where it is presumed that you will be mercilessly solicited.

You are under no obligation to purchase anything however, and if you can make it through the presentation without inadvertently buying a timeshare, you’re home free.

My only concern was that I’ve been known to be taken in by a good sales ploy, as my closet full of Sports Illustrated sneaker phones, ab-tightening gizmos and George Foreman kitchen gear will attest to. My wife, Laura, on the other hand, is a career salesperson, having sold products ranging from cosmetics to pharmaceuticals, so with her at my side I’d be safe.

Even if she had to resort to hiding my checkbook, the equivalent of lashing Ulysses to the mast to safely bypass the Siren’s Coast, I felt fairly confident that we’d survive this ordeal financially unscathed.

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