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The timeshare experience versus the RVing lifestyle

What is a timeshare and how does a timeshare relate to an RV?

It is highly probable that every adult living in the USA, who has any significant income, has been approached by a timeshare company with an offer “that you can’t refuse!” For those of us who have listened to two or more presentation detailing the great opportunities of the timeshare lifestyle, far too many have succumbed to one or more of these offers.

Timeshares are real estate venues that are purchased for a given sum plus annual maintenance fees. For this sum the buyer is awarded one week per year of vacation in selected resorts in the United States or another country. Usually, the resort is located at a very expensive or very select location and offers amenities that are inviting to many buyers.

There are, in fact, timeshare RV companies in which the buyer, along with several other buyers, purchases an RV, or the right to use the RV, for a set time period each year. An annual maintenance fee is assessed. www.coachshare.com/rv_timeshare.asp\l

The value of a timeshare is in the fact that most of us cannot afford to buy and live in a high end resort for any extended time period. Therefore, for a smaller amount of money we can own the right to live in a high end resort for a week or more each year.

I admit that I have purchased and used timeshare facilities in the U.S. mainland, Hawaii and New Zealand. The faciliites are usually clean, neat and expensive. Having used these timeshares I take this opportunity to compare timeshares and my RVing lifestyle. Each time that I use a timeshare it is often necessary to listen to a sales presentation by one or more very persuasive salespeople. I am learning to stoutly resist these “can’t refuse” offers.

Salespeople in the timeshare business do not seem to understand the pleasures of RVing. Each of the salespeople/consultants/associates, by any name, is convinced that he or she is offering me an absolutely compelling offer that I cannot possibly refuse. Who does not enjoy and desire vacations at some of the most beautiful scenic locations while staying in a fabulously luxurious resort? How can I decline their initial offer to pay from $65,000 to$135,000 plus annual maintenance fees to bask in absolute luxury for 2 to 4 weeks per year?

My statement to them is that I now live a wonderful lifestyle in my RV at a cost of $0-$3 per day. This expenditure compares rather favorably, I believe, to their quote of only $125 per day plus travel expenses. Admittedly, I pay some membership costs which in total are less than six dollars per day. Add to that the cost of fuel for my motorhome to move from one RV park to another.

The week this posting was written, I was staying at a very nice timeshare operated by Diamond Resorts. This resort is located in the beautiful Red Rocks area of Sedona, Ariz. All the amenities are first class including the one-bedroom apartment, the swimming pool, hot tub, golf course, etc. There are many things to appreciate and many, perhaps most, people in the world will never see or stay in such luxury at any period in their lifetime.

When I arrived at this resort I was offered gifts if I would agree to listen to a sales presentation. I was offered a $100 Visa card and a three day/two night stay at another resort. The presentation was scheduled to last for only 60 minutes. (It actually took 75 minutes of my precious time.) During that presentation two adult males with the combined sales experience of probably 25 to 30 years, attempted to convince me that an additional expenditure of $11,000-$18,000 plus an annual maintenance fee of $1,300 will double my available points and give me an additional week of vacation time each year for the rest of my life.

As I sat there listening to them explain the plan they were aware that I will be 82 years old in a few days. The “rest of my life” may be from one day to 20 years at the very most. Further, as an avid, virtually, full-time RVer I am on a vacation every week of my life at a much lower cost per week. In addition, my weekly vacations may be near Sedona or at thousands of other beautiful destinations.

As the presentation progressed, the salesperson was prone to make remarks that may imply that I possess a limited amount of intelligence. Statements such as:

  • “This is an offer you can’t refuse!”
  • “I don’t see why you cannot understand what an excellent deal this is.”
  • “This is a no-brainer for you!”
  • “You are probably one of the few persons in this room who would benefit from this offer.”
  • “You have paid far too much for the points that you now own and my offer will double those points if you agree to pay the same amount of money that you paid before.”

In much the same way, their second and third offers were for increased value at a lower cost. Much the same offers as a used car salesman would make. Why not make the best offer upfront and say “take it or leave it?”

In fact, the salesperson said that he does not make his money on a $13,000 sale, but does make money on a purchase of $65,000 or higher. Another sales associate that I met has an medical doctor degree, but prefers to sell timeshares. There must be some money to be made selling timeshares in the United States.

Yes, the main salesperson was nice, but kept me in my seat repeatedly while he went away to confer with a superior and “get me a better deal.” Variations of prolonging the spiel and good cop/bad cop were attempted to sway my thoughts and decisions. And, of course, the final decision must be made within the hour of presentation. None of these approaches worked on me this time. This type of offer should be made too much younger, more affluent buyers than myself.

What part of “as an RVer I have the perfect lifestyle” do they not understand?

Once again, I have resisted a somewhat convincing sales pitch and saved myself more than $10,000 today. Admittedly, I have not tried the RV timeshare or fractional owner concept, but do not see how that can surpass my current RVing lifestyle.

The fact is that I have tried, unsuccessfully, to sell or give away a timeshare that I bought in a weak moment many years ago. It is almost impossible to sell any timeshare online or in any way by the owner. I’d much rather spend the money RVing to a destination I have yet to experience.

About Dr. Bob Gorden

Dr. Bob Gorden is an RVer, hiker and writer. He has a PhD in microbial ecology from the University of Georgia in Athens. He is a retired research scientist from the University of Illinois Natural History Survey. He has owned and operated more than 55 RVs of various types, and has visited every state, except Hawaii, in his RV. He also traveled by RV in New Zealand, Canada and Mexico. He currently owns and travels in a 1978 GMC 26-foot Class A and 2013 Thor ACE 30.1 Class A motorhome. He has a compelling desire to be “On the Road Again!”

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