Wyndham Resort Timeshare Scams: The Lure of a New Car
"Did I Win the Car?"
It was a Saturday morning around 9 AM that my phone rang, I answered it, and a man named Nick was on the line. He asked me if I had filled out an entry form to win a new car at the Potomac Mall and I said “yes.” I had filled out an entry to win a car a few weeks earlier. While speaking with Nick, I thought to myself, 'did I win a new car?' I started to feel the excitement rising inside of me. Nick went on to explain that I was still in the running to win the car, but he has another exciting offer. My emotions were running high, just because someone called me and told me that I kinda sorta won.
Nick said that I am eligible to receive 4 airline tickets to both national and international destinations and that all I would have to do was attend a timeshare presentation (this is the bait and switch). Now I started to become skeptical. I had been to a timeshare presentation once before and the hard sale tactics were just ugly and exhausting and seemingly endless. As I recall, I must have been there for around 3 hours even though they promised that it only takes 2 hours. It felt like being held hostage and they have you as a sitting duck until they have drained you and then they give you the prize.
Definition of bait-and-switch:
the action (generally illegal) of advertising goods that are an apparent bargain, with the intention of substituting inferior or more expensive goods.
You won 4 airline tickets!— Nick - Wyndham Resorts
Anyway, I was still wrapped up in the excitement of winning something; this must be some kind of primal instinct. Winning the prize, any prize, must feed into the human ego somehow. Nick was feeding me the line, telling me what I wanted to hear and I went along. He said that the airline tickets must be booked through a certain travel agency who would “conveniently” book my hotel as well, but their rates were competitive. He also explained that I would be responsible for some taxes. Wow, I still liked the idea of the free airfare, even with some taxes. I mean, how much could the taxes be, right? I was envisioning some vacations in my mind; maybe a trip with the kids to London, the thought was highly enticing. Nick also threw in a dining card valued at $50. That seemed to make my time more than worth the while even though I wasn’t interested in a timeshare.
An Offer too Good to Refuse, or Too Good to Be True?
I agreed to attend this meeting and pushed aside my skepticism. I remained in this dreamy mental place picturing my future travels, but this dreamy place soon had some holes in it. A few hours later I checked for my email confirmation and began reading the details of the “Fly Away Getaway” vacation certificate the one with the airfare. Reading the details of this offer caused me to question the pitch I was given. It was explained in the email that in order to use the 4 coach-class round-trip tickets I would need to book them and a minimum stay at a hotel through “First Priority Travel.”
I began to realize that the minimum stay was the catch. If I was to stay at a hotel of their choosing then the benefit of the free airfare would be washed out in the likely expensive cost of the hotel. If I really wanted to travel to a destination I would be better off looking for a package deal and skipping this “offer.” I called to ask about the minimum stay and found out that for most national destinations the minimum stay would be 4 or 5 days and for international destinations, the minimum stay would be 7–14 days. This is when it became perfectly clear to me that this travel agency would turn their profit on the hotel which in turn wipes out the free aspect of the airfare. I would simply be paying for a vacation that I might as well book on my own, if that is really what I want to do.
What Are "Dining Dollars" Anyway?
The final straw was when I clicked on the link for the $50 dining dollars card and found out that it wasn’t actually a dining card but rather a 50% discount card. That is not exactly the same thing.
My “friend” Nick over at Wyndham wanted me to sit in on a long hard sale presentation for a 50% off meal card and the lie of free airfare. With this in mind, I am sure that my answer is “no.” If this isn’t a scam, I don’t know what is. The dinning card is another example of bait-and-switch. I was led to believe that the value was $50.00 when it was really a 50% off card.
Definition of Scam:
A dishonest scheme; a fraud especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
I promptly emailed Nick and his partner in crime, a woman named Chantea who also emailed me to remind me to bring my credit card, even though they insisted they wouldn’t be actually using it. I was very polite and declined the offer.
Oh well, we live and learn. I am usually pretty skeptical, but this time I fell for it, almost.
Your turn to Weigh in
Have you attended a timeshare presentation?
Have you purchased a timeshare?
Do you find the sales tactics used by Wyndham to be amoral?
Read More Consumer Complaints About Wyndham Practices
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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2015 Ariel Laur