Here are a few tips to remember if scheduling a 'free vacation getaway:'
Always read the fine print.
Be sure to inquire if the tour is optional or required
Ask the telemarketing representatives where will you be staying
Make sure you question the telemarketing agent before you leave for the trip.
Trust your instinct -- if it seems too good to be true, it is!
There will be a five-start timeshare resort that the family will view all right, but the family will not to stay there. The resort will make sure that they did not clarify the housing arrangement before the family departs for the trip. In fact, families stay at a motel and only tour the resort. The motels are usually miles away from the main resort. Another important fact the resort leaves out is that if the family des not take the required tour, the resort will not pay the motel bill. If a family forgets to bring the credit card, they will not be permitted to take the tour; thus the family will have to pay for their own motel.
The phone rings during supper and the excited voice on the phone says that the call is to congratulate the lucky family that has been chosen for a complementary weekend getaway to a beautiful five star resort! You haven't even hung up the phone yet an your already daydreaming about picking out a new bathing suit, selecting a suntan lotion, and grabbing that outdoor umbrella.
The T.O. is used to sweeten the deal by offering families additional prizes. At this point the trip seems perfect, because the telemarketing representative never ask for credit card number, (the job of pulling the credit card number is actually done at the resort). The representative will instruct the vacationer to bring at least one major credit card and a picture ID so they can check into the resort (supposedly for identification purposes only). This is actually an attempt to ensure that the family has a credit card at their disposal. A week will pass and phase four of the scam will go into effect.
The voice gors on to say that the family was chosen from an entry form filled out weeks earlier at their local grocery store. The representative then explains that by taking the trip the family will be under no obligation to purchase any timeshare property, and the resort only wants the family to take a brief tour of their resort.
Does this sound familiar? Helpless vacationers are swindled daily by large resorts across the United States. Although most resorts do not treat their customers this way, some do. Why would companies resort to such extreme measures to lure vacationers to their property? The answered can be summed up by one word "MONEY."
The majority of vacationers are unaware that the major focus of the resort is not to get a purchase up front, bu to get customers to the resorts. Once these potential customers are on site, they introduce their trained sales representatives to scare them into purchasing.
How does the scam work? It's a simple process. At the local grocery store, movie theater or location ballot boxes are set up where a large number of people would have time to accurately fill out an entry form. These entry forms contain vital information such as the contestant's name, address and income. The name allows the telemarketing agent calling to have a more personal appeal when they call. The address portion of the slip allow the resort to know which resorts are within the proximity of the vacationers.
The next piece of vital information is the home and work phone numbers, which are used later in the conformation portion of the scam. There is also a check box for the annual household income and for the number of credit cards that are in the home. The checkbox for household income allows the marketing agencies and resorts to discard the luckier entries that do not make the necessary annual salary to purchase property.
The credit card box let the resort know that once at the resort the vacationers will have a means of purchasing, because no one deals in cash these days, especially while traveling. The last and most alarming check box will ask the marital status. This box will weed out all the single males, because study shows that single men do not buy on impulse, but single women will buy on impulse. Some ballots will even ask what is the best time to call so they can catch the vacationers at home. Once the resorts have clearly separated the qualified candidates, phase two begins.
Phase two will be a phone call that the vacationer will receive two or three months after the initial entry form (the resorts have the ballots separated much earlier, but this makes it seem like their was an actual drawing and there was an actual winner chosen). The telemarketing agent will call any ask to speak to Mr. or Mrs. (whichever name is on ballot). Next, the telemarketer will quickly say that they are not calling to sell anything, they just want to let the family know they've been selected for a complimentary trip to a wonderful five star timeshare resort. The telemarketer will ooze sincereity, since they work on commission only and they get paid if they get families to tour the resorts. This part of the telemarketing speech does not seem bad; but wait - this is the calm before the storm.
The telemarketer will now try to get the person on the phone to commitment on date to visit the resort. The trick to booking the reservations is to get the families to commit to a datewithin two weeks, because beyond two weeks most people would forget about the trip.
Phase three is what telemarketers refer to as overcoming objections with rebuttals. Rebuttals are basically responses for every possible objection the telemarketer might receive. The telemarketer literally breaks objections into three categories: spousal, credibility, and time-off-work. For a spousal rebuttal the telemarketer will say things like 'why don't you surprise you wife or husband with a free getaway?', or 'doesn't your family deserve to getaway?,' or a defensive tactic 'aren't you allowed to make decisions?' This is usually said if a male answers the phone. The longer the telemarketing agent can keep someone on the phone without hanging up, the more likely they will get someone toagree to the trip.
To overcome a credibility objection, the telemarketer will read the actual ballot the vacationer filled out. What could give more credibility than this? And the most common objection is not being able to get off work. This is when the telemarketer would say if we could fit this vacation in with your schedule would you take it? The purpose of the rebuttal is to reduce the objection down to just one problem.
Once they have it narrowed down to a single objection, the telemarketer will turn the call over to a T.O. or turnover specalist, a supervisor who has been trained for years in persuasion marketing. If the telemarketer can get to the point where they can call for a T.O., then nine times out of ten, the family schedules a trip.
Phase four is called the confirmation phase, because a telemarketing representative gives a courtesy call just to remind the vacationers of the trip for the upcoming week. This is how the resort will count the number of cancellations and the number of confirmations they can expect. The representative will offer more gifts like televisions, dinner certificates and jewelry if the vacationers are still able to make the trip to further sweeten the deal. Once there is a confirmation for the trip, the final phase now starts.
The tour of the resort is just as bad as the rest of the trip. The tour guide sole purpose is to make a sale, and as soon as they finished the tour, the guide expects the vacationers to purchase. If the family does not purchase the tour guide will get hostile and even threaten the vacationers.
The would-be vacationers can be left broke, unhappy and completely dissatisfied for the entire weekend. Those who caved in to the sales pitch will have a constant reminder of the trip because they've just purchased an unwanted time-share which will be good for one week, once a year, every year, for the rest of their lives!
Of course, there are credible resorts companies which allow brief stays, but there are NO complementary vacations. If families are interested in the purchase of an affordable time-share, they should consult a qualified travel agent. Some vacation getaways may be safe, but before a vacationer makes a commitment to a trip, they should take the time to research the resort.