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Timeshare vacation offers: a deal or a scam?

Have you ever received a phone call or emails including timeshare offer? You know, those that promise to live and be accepted in the park for a fraction of the regular cost if you attend a time show. If so, you may have wondered about it and whether it is worth pursuing. Well, I'm not embarrassed to stand up and say, "I did!" My mother and I went on vacation together, and during the first three days we took advantage of one of the very good timeshare vacation offers. This is my experience:

Last spring, my grandmother received an unwanted phone call from a group offering cheap hotel rooms in Orlando and Disney park tickets. My grandmother has always wanted to go, so I called my mom and asked her to look into it. My mom learned that this company (Vacation Showroom, Inc.) was offering a $ 99 Vacation Package per person for stays in any or all cities (Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Williamsburg, and Las Vegas). I promised to stay in Orlando for 3 nights in a hotel just 5 minutes from Disney theme parks, plus a one-day admission ticket per person. She was also told that she would have to pay a reservation fee of $ 30, that Orlando would cost an additional $ 29 per person, and that she had to attend a presentation of timeshare sales. Thinking that this would be a reasonable way to take my grandmother on vacation, she bought it. It cost $ 228 to buy the parcel. Unfortunately, my grandmother died before this trip, and I went to her place.

The package promises "good" accommodation within 10 minutes of tourist attractions, such as AmeriHost, Ramada Plaza 1000 or Radisson Barcelo. We could not select one of these hotels – one of us will be selected based on availability at the time of booking. As it turns out, we were booked at Amerihost, which of the three hotels was closest to Walt Disney World. I did some research before the trip and confirmed that Amerihost offered free shuttle trips to Walt Disney World. The reservation agent stated that we needed to confirm our late arrival (8:00 pm) on the morning of check-in. Frankly, my mother called before we left for the airport to confirm our arrival. So far, so good.

Our flight arrived early in the evening and we got a taxi to Amerihost – we didn't hire a car, because the hotel was moving to Walt Disney Airport. Upon arriving at the hotel, we wandered around a little bit to try to find the vacation package check-in desk, which turned out to be at the back of the hotel. We wasted a good half an hour in this. Finally, my mom checked-in by sharing times in the Vacation Gallery and received a hotel voucher. The coupon is on hand, we went to the hotel check-in desk to get our room crashing. Unfortunately, this was not achieved. When our turn to check in, we learned that although we confirmed our stay only that morning, the hotel had booked too much and we could stay at the Ramada Plaza 1000 instead. We said, in unison, "We have no transportation!" But the hotel staff will not budge. After much complaint and bargaining, they finally agreed to give us transportation to and from Ramada. We were instructed to return to the Vacation Showroom office to book a timeshare offer (required for park tickets) and then go to the Ramada.

So we took our luggage to the office, took part in the timeshare offer ($ 20 deposit required), and got a car for a staff member ($ 5 tip). It was a good 20-25 minute drive to Ramada. When we checked in, we learned that not only was there a shuttle to Disney, the restaurant had just closed and there was no restaurant even within walking distance. So we entered our room, asked for submarines from the place of delivery, and fell into a tired sleep. Not the auspicious start of our trip.

The next morning we presented ourselves at the exhibition holiday office at the opening time (8:00 am) to inquire about the return transportation we had promised. My mother got deviated, so I tried. After strongly insisting, the deputy said that she was transporting us to transportation. It turned out that she summoned a town car company, and upon depositing us again in Amerihost, the driver insisted on $ 40 for the ride. Not possible! I went out and spoke to a check-in clerk and paid the driver the money. However, we gave the driver a $ 5 tip.

Finally, we get to check in to Amerihost. The "smoking" room was the only room available, but we took it so we could continue our day. Unfortunately, by the time we checked in our luggage, the shuttle left the last morning. At the concierge desk we asked about transportation to the animal kingdom, and we were told that their driver might take us both for $ 20. Eager to go, we agreed. The trip was good, and we recommended another $ 5.

The timeshare view was the next day. While we were all afraid of this, we knew that it must be done to get park tickets. So we attended the hotel lobby on time and headed to Silver Lake Resort. There we waited to view the timeshare. As it turned out, the individual sales representatives came out and called up individual names – one sales representative for each party. Yikes! We thought we'd be in a safe group.

The timeshare sales representative led us to a large meeting room where 40 small tables and chairs were arranged. A very little "breakfast buffet" was prepared along the side – the price was the usual continental breakfast, not very tasty. After talking about his family, and throwing his coffee by chance on my mom, he started talking in general about the extent of valuable vacations and the value of saving money on them. All this we knew, but hey, whatever. About an hour later, he gave us a tour of the two and three bedroom apartments at Silver Lake Resort. They looked fine – nothing to compare with the Disney vacation resorts, but still so well. Then it is time to sell hard. He got out of a calculator and told my mom about her monthly payments when she bought the timeshare. My mother asked the questions very politely and expressed real interest, but she firmly said that she could not make a decision immediately. Pay more and more and more. When my mother didn't budge, he was frustrated (he actually put his head in his hands and sigh!). In the end, after another hour, anger – do not joke. He made it clear that we were wasting his time. Ha! We kept an hour longer than we were told it would take time to display the sharing. When he finally gave up and let's go, she smiled and thanked him for his time. He turned away cruel. And because he ran over his allotted time, we returned to Amerihost late and lost the shuttle. We spent another $ 25 to reach Epcot.

The good news? We got two garden tickets for a day after the presentation. Well, they were actually vouchers, but we had no problem replacing them with actual tickets in the inmates' relationship with the gardens.

All in all, the experience cost us $ 346 when adding transportation costs. At usual rates, it will cost $ 69 per night to stay in Amerihost, plus $ 53 x 2 for tickets, for a total of $ 313. Additionally, we had no problem with overbooking (regular customers were provided with rooms), transport chaos, no half-day waste and worsening timeshare offer.

Was it worth? If we took advantage of housing in other cities (two nights in Fort Lauderdale, Williamsburg and Las Vegas at no additional cost, if we did not calculate the time-sharing offer that comes with each visit) we had private transportation, perhaps – but that is probably great. Other than that? Not possible! We hated trouble, hated lack of control, and hated high-pressure syndication sales. This was not a deal. Although I wouldn't call it a scam, I don't think "excessive noise" is far from the mark.

My advice? Stay away from timeshare offers unless you have time and money to waste.

Copyright © Jennifer Marx, Bass Portor Press. All rights reserved.